If you are a regular visitor to my blog, you will know that one of my major inspirations is my youngest daughter, Bettina, who copes with Autism and Learning Disabilities.

Steve and Bettina
Steve and Bettina

During our recent two week holiday I thought about our relationship over the last 27 years and recalled the times when the only way she could cope in a crowded environment was if she sat on my shoulders pulling my hair out (so that’s where it went!), and I also thought about our annual visits together to Redridge Outdoor activity centre when we would kayak, abseil, and rock climb together.

Bettina, I am glad to say, no longer needs to sit on my shoulders and she is happy to walk alongside me!  She is happy to go anywhere with me and coped really well recently on a very crowded day in Norwich – a place she was visiting for the first time.

Bettina will always need to have someone by her side, so how did our relationship evolve over the years so that new experiences no longer fazed her? I believe it had everything to do with ‘Trust’.

Bettina’s 5 lessons in Trust:

(Please note there are no days off with Trust – it is 24/7)

  1. Reliability Someone whom you can believe in and rely on (so turn up every day with your A Game). You need to be reliable as a person in everything you do.
  2. Honesty – By being honest, she becomes confident with you. Bettina knows you will always tell her the truth
  3. Responsibility – You take your obligations to Bettina seriously – she is incredibly vulnerable so you can never let her down
  4. Consistent – As Joyce, my wife tells me, you stick with the plan! If you say you are going somewhere with Bettina and you have communicated each stage of the plan with her, you must always stick to it
  5. Belief – You demonstrate that you believe in Bettina- her hopes, dreams and expectations

So how do you go about building Trust with your team based on Bettina’s 5 lessons in Trust?

  1. You put your team members first – earn their loyalty
  2. You show that you believe in and care about your team members – this needs to be backed up with evidence and regular examples
  3. You maintain the highest standards for yourself
  4. You do what you say you are going to do. Always deliver
  5. You remain calm and considerate to those you lead

During my holiday I also had time for reading too!  A colleague recommended a book by Major Dick Winters ‘Beyond Band of Brothers’, a first-hand account of the true events that inspired the ‘Band of Brothers HBO Series.  For me it was a book about leadership and courage but ultimately (prominent on each page) a book about ‘Trust’ As an ‘extra’ to this post I have included Dick Winter’s 10 Principles of Success:

  1. Strive to be a leader of character, competence, and courage
  2. Lead from the front. Say, “Follow me!” and then lead the way.
  3. Stay in top physical shape – physical stamina is the root of mental toughness
  4. Develop your team. If you know your people, are fair in setting realistic goals and expectations, and lead by example, you will develop teamwork
  5. Delegate responsibility to your subordinates and let them do their jobs. You can’t do a good job if you don’t have a chance to use your imagination or your creativity.
  6. Anticipate problems and prepare to overcome obstacles. Don’t wait until you get to the top of the ridge and then make up your mind.
  7. Remain humble. Don’t worry about who received the credit.  Never let power or authority go to your head
  8. Take a moment of self-reflection. Look at yourself in the mirror every night and ask yourself if you did your best.
  9. True satisfaction comes from getting the job done. The key to a successful leader is to earn respect-not because of rank or position, but because you are a leader of character
  10. Hang Tough! – Never ever, give up.

Source:  Major Dick Winters Easy Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment 101st Airborne Division ‘Beyond the Band of Brothers’ ISBN 9780091941581. I personally recommend this book to you.

Please share your own experiences of ‘Trust’ below; I’d love to hear them.