While I shared many lessons at the supervisor workshop, I learned some things, too. One of my favorites was the concept by Andy Stanley that helps to frame a culture of trust, whether that be in a marriage or in an organization.

“Occasionally there are gaps between what we expect people to do and what they actually do,” teaches Stanley. How leaders respond to that gap serves to create the culture of your organization. Stanley outlines two choices: people can “assume the worst” or “believe the best”. He maintains that if a leader chooses to believe the best, that a culture of trust will develop.

Note the word “chooses.” Stanley acknowledges that leaders may not always feel that benevolent, but he maintains that they can still choose to act in a way that supersedes their emotion, believing that there is something unknown that caused the person to act as they did and that once it is discovered, it will lead to understanding.

His premise does not demand blind acceptance when performance creates a gap. When the leader initially believes the best but evidence is to the contrary, the leader must choose to confront the situation rather than continue with concealed suspicions.

If your organization or any relationship is looking to create or strengthen a culture of trust (and hopefully you are!), Stanley’s message provides strategies and rationale to help you on this journey. The residual benefits to the individuals and the overall health of the organization warrant the effort.

Thanks, Brian!

Watch the full 45-minute message here


I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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