Trust: The Foundation of Leadership

Foundation of Trust

According to their wonderful book “The Leadership Challenge,” leadership research experts Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner state that “credibility (or Trust) is the foundation of leadership.”

The research simply confirms what we have all experienced in our lives.

Understanding Trust

Without trust, you can’t lead and you won’t follow!

We’ve all heard that old saying, “people don’t care what you know until they know how much you care.” And if you’re a good leader, you understand that without trust, you have nothing.

The depth of each relationship is directly equal to the amount of trust that is in that relationship. Trust is the basis of ALL relationships, and as a leader you must understand this in order to be effective.

I’ve made a few observations about trust in leadership that I’d like to share with you. I think you’ll find these to be true in your situation as well. How many times have you been a part of an organization and just wished that the leader(s) would trust one another so you could move forward?

Unfortunately, I’ve seen it all too often which is what led me to jot down the following:

  •  Trust is a Two-Way Street

In order to be trusted, you must trust those you lead. At it’s foundation, trust is simply believing in someone else’s abilities and empowering them to fly.

Too many times, leadership becomes more about control than about empowerment of those we are leading. That shift in your focus as a leader can become the first step to the destruction of trust, and the organization/church/ business.

Trust is a two way street and good leaders trust their followers’ abilities and empower them to lead instead of holding them back by micromanaging them.

  •  Trust is Mission Focused, not Self-Seeking

We all want our organizations, churches and businesses to be successful. However, if you care more about who gets the credit for the success of the organization than you do about the mission of the organization, there is a trust problem.

When our focus is on who gets the credit, then we will inevitably become distrustful of others in the organization. We will constantly be paranoid that they will “outshine” us and steal our glory. The fact is that all the glory must go first of all to God who allows us to do anything that we do.

Then we must give proper credit to those who excel in their respective roles in accomplishing the overall mission. Good leaders defer credit and accept blame.

  • Trust is All About Teamwork

As the leader, we are responsible for creating the environment of trust in our organization. If we want to be trusted, then we must trust our team! Our team will do as we do, not as we say.

We can talk about teamwork and trust all we want, but if at the end of the day we do not trust our followers and believe in their abilities to make the team better then they will never trust us to lead them anywhere.

What are some things you’ve observed about trust in your organization? How much do you trust your team? How much do you think they trust you? Have you ever had an open discussion about trust in your organization?


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Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

Keith Glover
Keith Glover
 is Head Coach at Pastor2Pastors
He helps Pastors & Ministry Leaders take care of themselves to better serve others
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Web | Blog | 423-343-4335

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Open Minded

Articles of Faith: Intentionally Unintentional

Open Minded

This post is part of our Sunday Series titled “Articles of Faith.”
We investigate leadership lessons from the Bible.
See the whole series here. Published only on Sundays.

Have you ever noticed that those who help you the most in life are those who never really intend to help you? 

In fact, those helpful souls are rarely even aware of their helpfulness to you even when they are in the very act of helping.

Becoming Unintentional

I find that to be interesting and relevant to being a ministry leader or leader in general.

If you have ever been “taken on” as a project and yet the one trying to help you seemed to make things even more difficult, you can clearly understand just how damaging that can be and the importance of not treating others this way.

In our role as ministry leaders, we have to learn to become  intentionally unintentional.

I’ve been reading recently from Eugene Peterson’s book, Working the Angles: The Shape of Pastoral Integrity,” and he makes a great point about how ministry leaders are not encouraged to work this way.

He states this:

“By the very nature (obscure, everyday, low profile, non-crisis) this is the work for which pastors need the most encouragement if we are to keep it at the center of our awareness and practice. 

It is in fact the work for which we get the least encouragement, for it is always being pushed to the sidelines by the hustling, career development mentality of our peers and the hurrying, stimulus-hunger demands of our parishioners.”

It is amazing to me how relevant this 1987 book is to ministry leaders/pastors today.

As I read these words, I can’t help but think there are many leaders in ministry, business, and politics alike that could learn from this lesson in leadership intent.

The bible says in 1 Corinthians 4:15:

“For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers…”

And it is certainly easier to tell others what to do (guide) than to be with them in real relationship, encouraging them as they work it out (father).

It is easier to look for sin than to look for grace.

4 Ways to be more  Intentionally Unintentional:

1) Don’t treat people as projects

You can never forget how degrading and damaging it can be to have someone attempt to “fix” you.  It starts with the assumption that you, as the helper, have it all together and it comes across as very condescending.

People are common in a few areas:

  • We all want to have a sense of belonging
  • We all want to be loved
  • We all want to feel we have value

When we take on a person as a “project”, we immediately take those basic things away and usually do more damage than good with our intentions of helping.

2) Don’t have an agenda

I know that goes against most leadership teachings, but when it comes to helping others become all they can be, we must be more of a “father” and less of a “guide.”  Many folks have tried to help me in my spiritual journey and have created obstacles that took years to get through or around.

I think this occurred largely due to their pre-determined agenda as they attempted to help me grow.

I’m not saying that all planning and agendas are bad, but I am saying that to go into a situation of helping someone, a real leader seeks first to understand, then be understood.

Find out their agenda before having your own, and be open to different approaches.

3) Don’t assume you know everything

You may not know what the other person needs, and even if you do know what they need, don’t assume you know how they will best receive it. Just because you’ve dealt with the same issue before doesn’t mean that you are dealing with the same person dealing with that issue.

No two relationships are exactly the same, but all relationships have the potential to help or hurt.

4) Don’t think you must be in a formal situation to help others

If your intent is to really help, then you will listen first before attempting to help.  I think that is why we must be intentionally unintentional.  If we feel we are supposed to help someone, there is pressure for us to come through for them.  If we don’t assume that false responsibility, it seems easier to befriend and actually help them.

When you are in line at the grocery store, or at work, or just about anywhere, there are opportunities to “lead,” but we must be intentional about these unintentional leadership situations if we want to be a real leader.

Proverbs 16:18 (ESV) “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”

Helping in God’s Plan

Every day you and I are in situations where we can help others grow and become more of what God created them to be…if we are not concerned with who gets the credit.

Many times, if we are honest, we like the recognition of helping others more than actually helping others in obscurity.

How has your pride kept you from being a real help to those in need? What are some ways that you are intentionally unintentional in your leadership style?


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Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

Keith Glover
 is Head Coach at Pastor2Pastors
He helps Pastors & Ministry Leaders take care of themselves to better serve others
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Web | Blog | 423-343-4335

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Articles of Faith: Leaders – Just Say NO!

Just Say No

This post is part of our Sunday Series titled “Articles of Faith.”
We investigate leadership lessons from the Bible.
See the whole series here. Published only on Sundays.

How does saying “no” effect your leadership ability?

We who are “servant-hearted” leaders have a hard time saying “no” to demands of others.  We truly want to help and know that God has gifted us to help others.  Yet, we wind up unintentionally over-committing ourselves and being much less real help to the masses than we’d like to admit.

This impacts us as leaders no matter what our vocation.

Clarity of Vision

At it’s root, leadership is making tough decisions

As I grow in my leadership I am learning that even the toughest decisions become easier when I have a predetermined set of core values and clarity of vision.  It’s much easier to say “no” when you are sure of what or to whom you say”yes”.  I’ve found that Christian Leaders have real problems saying “no” when they are unclear on their own vision.

Show me a pastor who is unclear on vision, and I’ll show you a pastor who can’t say “no.”

This also translates to Christian business leaders as well.

Somewhere along the way I think we’ve equated saying “no” to others requests as being a negative thing.  As if we’re saying to them that the important task they are asking us to help with is not worthy or of value.

This is incorrect thinking, and I have a feeling it is one of the major reasons pastors/ministry leaders burnout so frequently.

Let Mission Drive Your Decisions

By nature, most pastors begin their ministry as optimists, and sadly they leave it extremely jaded and pessimistic. Possible reasons for this is that we like to say “yes”, and we are placed in vocation where we must say “no” to many good things, in order to say “yes” to God’s best for us and those we lead.

The question often becomes this:

How can a pastor, a spiritual leader, say “no” to anyone’s requests and it be a positive thing? 

Well, I have found at least three positive things about saying “no” that I’d like to share with you.  This list is not all inclusive, nor exhaustive by any means.  However, I do pray that it will be helpful to you.

These principles are applicable to any leader, even if they are not in ministry.  It seems that anyone who truly wishes to serve and care for others as a leader has an issue with saying “no” in a positive way.

3 Positive Things About Saying “No”

1) Saying “no” to good things can help you say “yes” to the best things.

Johnny Hunt, former President of the Southern Baptist Convention, went through a burnout period during the last year and had some insightful things to say about his experience (go to 9/19/10 Sermon Notes).  One of the most interesting things he said was that he came to a place where he “couldn’t say no to anyone…except his wife, the one person to whom he should have been saying yes.

One reason that ministry marriages have an even more difficult time is all the demands made on the ministry leader are falsely made to seem so spiritual that nobody who wants to follow God would say “no” to them.

We cannot continue to believe that saying no in these situations is a negative thing, when the most positive thing we can do is say a “yes” to God’s best by saying “no” to anything that distracts us…even if it is a “good” thing!  Perry Noble is another prominent pastor who experienced burnout recently and talks about it here.

2) Saying “no” allows you the freedom to follow God more fully.

When Abraham was told to take his son and sacrifice him on an alter to the Lord I would imagine that he had to say “no” to many of the alternatives formulated in the mind of a loving earthly father in order to follow the Heavenly Father fully.  He was spared from having to do the actual act of killing his own son, but because he followed fully, he knew God on a deeper level than any other.

He knew the heart of the Father because of his refusal to say “yes” to his own desire.

Jesus also said “no” many more times than you can imagine, and he said the word to many legitimate requests.  Why?  Because He understood that to follow fully, you must say “no” to anything that distracts or detracts from God’s plan.

3) Saying “no” shows confidence. 

When a pastor or ministry leader has the ability to respectfully say “no” to certain requests it gives confidence in two ways.

  1. It allows the leader to gain more confidence in his own awareness of the God-given vision
  2. It gives those who are following the leader’s vision confidence in knowing that the leader is committed to the vision allowing nothing to distract him.

My friend and business coach, Jeff Brunson, says that his job is “Building Confident Leaders”.  Confidence is one quality of Leadership that is very attractive to those who want to follow the vision, but can be very upsetting to the crowd who wishes to control.

The confidence level of a leader/pastor will determine the level of true commitment of those who profess to follow.

I follow Jesus because he does what he say he will do and he doesn’t change his course of action because I may disagree or be offended.

  • Imagine the freedom if you, as a pastor, lead from a place of true calling and mission.
  • Imagine if you had the confidence to say “no” to anything that distracts you from your God-given purpose.
  • Wouldn’t it be the most positive and freeing experience of your ministry?

What is one thing that prevents you from saying “no” and how is it affecting your leadership and your life? How does the inability to say “no” negatively impact your vocation?  Your organization?  Your family? How could these “saying no” principles apply whether your leadership role is in ministry or business or another vocation?


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Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

Keith Glover
 is Head Coach at Pastor2Pastors

He helps Pastors & Ministry Leaders take care of themselves to better serve others
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Web | Blog | 423-343-4335

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Articles of Faith: Love in Leadership


Love is the most difficult word to define in the English language.  Mostly because it has almost as many different meanings as there are people who use the word.  

From saying, “I love the Colts” to “God is Love”; there are many different levels of meaning for this word.  When focusing on love in Leadership, the word can be used to define one’s passion, caring and understanding for those they lead and commitment to the mission of the organization.  You may have heard the saying, “people don’t care how much you know, unless they know how much you care”.

Without love there can be no leadership.  

In the wonderful book “The Leadership Challenge”, the authors identify “encouraging the heart” as one of the exemplary practices of leadership.  I contend that you must appropriately love others in order to lead them.  Many mistakes can be forgiven in leadership, but to not love those you lead and the values and purposes that they hold dear can be the unforgivable sin.

If you, as a leader, do not truly love those you are leading, you cannot expect anyone to follow.  Would you follow someone you didn’t think cared about you?

 “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.”  —1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (NIV

Without communication of love there can be no leadership.

The words we use in Leadership are important, but not nearly as important as the motive of the heart with which they are spoken. So, as we pay attention to the words we use, may we pay even more special attention to the motives of our heart when dealing with and leading others.

We can have the best mission and vision for an organization there has ever been, but if we cannot clearly communicate that vision in such a way that those following know you care about them as individuals, you will not accomplish that mission.

Without love you will just be taking a walk…alone.

Love is the most important trait that a leader can have because without it, no one will follow for very long.  And as Dr. John C. Maxwell says, “He who thinketh he leadeth and hath no one following, only taketh a walk.”  If you want to do more than just take a walk alone, you must love those whom you serve and lead.

What will you do this week to show those you lead that you love them?  How do you think they’ll respond?  Why?

Keith Glover
 is Head Coach at Pastor2Pastors

He helps Pastors & Ministry Leaders take care of themselves to better serve others
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Web | Blog | 423-343-4335

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Articles of Faith: The Unforced Rhythm of Grace

Amazing Grace—————————————————————————–
This post is part of our Sunday Series titled “Articles of Faith.”
We investigate leadership lessons from the Bible.
See the whole series here. Published only on Sundays.

Have you ever noticed the wind blowing through the trees or the waves lapping up on a sandy shoreline? There is a rhythm about them that is natural and calming to the soul.  

The Rhythm of Love

The rhythm is something organic, not contrived by man.  It is unforced.  The natural, calming, unforced rhythm of blowing wind and crashing waves reminds me of the perfect unforced “God-rhythm” that resonates deep within my being.

Creation displays this rhythm; After which, I believe God desires us to pattern our lives.

Think about how God created the world in six days and then rested on the seventh.  He gave us the example of how we need to work, then rest, then work, then rest…and so on.   Wayne Cordeiro states a similar conclusion in his book “Leading on Empty.”

Taking breaks during our work actually makes us more productive.

Taking a Break

So how much of a break should we take? the answer is that we should take at least one day off per week, one week off per year. And take off more time if possible. For those in ministry leadership, dealing with heavy emotional and spiritual stresses on a weekly basis, it is imperative that you give yourself this rest.

Don’t think your ministry will survive if you miss one day per week?

Then you desperately need to learn the unforced rhythms of grace.

The key text for is Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message)

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Obedience & Grace

One reason I love this passage in The Message is the phrasing, “unforced rhythms of grace.” God is speaking here of us finding that place of unforced rhythm in our lives.  He wants us to “recover our lives” and find “real rest”, and He shows us that can only be found in Him, “keep company with me”.

Only when we are obedient to God in the same way as the wind and the waves obey Him, will we find this unforced rhythm to our lives. I don’t know about you, but I desire to live my life in the “unforced rhythms of grace”, allowing God to guide me even when it means taking a break and resting with Him.

His word says, “Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life.”

When we really follow God, WE are not the driving force.  God is.  When things feel forced or contrived in order to make us look good or because things just have to get done not matter what, it is not God working, but ourselves.  On our own we will be defeated, but when God works in and through us…and we live in the unforced rhythms, it is awesome!

I think it is those times in our lives that we feel most at peace.

What are some situations today in which you need to let God work in and through you and experience His unforced rhythms of GRACE?

Keith Glover
is Head Coach at Pastor2Pastors

He helps Pastors & Ministry Leaders take care of themselves to better serve others
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Web | Blog | 423-343-4335
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