I really need to start saving links to articles I read that I either agree or disagree with. In this case, I was reading an article where the author was saying that not only should leaders be open with everything in their lives with employees but that they should show all employees that they trust them from the very beginning by allowing them to find their own way.

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I cringed when I read it because it's something I totally disagree with. I do feel that trust is a major leadership trait... when it's earned. I also believe that employees need to prove that they deserve to be trusted.

Let's start with leaders. Anyone in a position of leadership who believes that employees should just trust them because they're in charge is clueless of how the concept of trust works. You really only get away with that kind of thing in the military, and even there those in leadership positions have been trained over a long period of time to be there.

In the military, new recruits have to immediately trust leadership because they're going to be pushed to the limit to see what they're made of. They're going to learn how to protect themselves and their fellow soldiers, and they're going to learn how to kill; that's just a reality.

In business, the stakes are much different. Many managers haven't been trained to be true leaders. So, when employees start working with them, many times they notice personal agendas take precedence over the job. After a while, they learn to distrust anything that person has to say. Then, when they changed jobs, they immediately distrust the next person in charge based on track record.

That's why it's important for leaders to take actions to gain the trust of employees. The best thing about being a good leader is having new employees come into the office and the current employees will extol the virtues of the leader. The leader still needs to verify the trust given, but it makes life a lot easier for everyone involved.

What about employees earning trust? In health care, it's imperative that every employee who goes into a new organization earn the trust of those they report to, as well as the trust of those they work with.

Why? Because whether the worker is a health care technician of some kind (including nurse) or in any other area of the hospital, there are rules that not only govern employees in the hospital but hospitals themselves. These rules are there to protect again patient harm and financial chaos.

Just because someone came from another hospital and already has some skills doesn't mean that they're immediately believed to be competent. There are a lot of people with time in health care who do sloppy work. There are a lot of people on the financial side who you'll discover don't know a lot of simple rules because they never had to deal with them where they were before.

The costs are high. Not only are their fines but hospitals can be stripped of their licenses and, in worse cases, patients could die. Imagine other industries where that's something you have to deal with every single day (of course there are other industries where that's a part of daily life).

Even if other industries aren't dealing with issues that crucial, there's still a level of danger they need to guard against. How often are we reading stories of embezzlement or fraud at companies? How often are we reading about employees who went off the deep end and got violent, only to learn that other employees had worried about that particular employee? How often do we read about some disaster that occurred because an employee without proper training came against something they didn't understand and did something they thought was right but turned out to be horribly wrong?

Scary isn't it? This is why it's dangerous to trust either leaders or employees without making them earn it first.

Training and evaluation is imperative for employees. Being truthful, consistent and fair is imperative for leaders. Building trust helps everyone; wouldn't you agree?