The Trusted Leader


Any good manager feels an intuitive need to build trust inside his or her company and among employees. Self-improvement is an integral part of creating a trust-building climate and current books on leadership and corporate issues understate the importance of this element. Developing further the ideas in THE TRUSTED ADVISOR, the authors move from discussing how managers can make themselves and their company trustworthy to clients and customers to how they can build trust within an organization, between manager and...

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The Trusted Leader

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Any good manager feels an intuitive need to build trust inside his or her company and among employees. Self-improvement is an integral part of creating a trust-building climate and current books on leadership and corporate issues understate the importance of this element. Developing further the ideas in THE TRUSTED ADVISOR, the authors move from discussing how managers can make themselves and their company trustworthy to clients and customers to how they can build trust within an organization, between manager and colleagues, bosses, and employees. Instead of focusing on Business to Business, The Trusted Leader deals with building internal, managerial and organizational trust. The authors parse the different kinds of trust, give diagnostic ways to determine whether trust is missing and where it needs to be supplemented, and ways to restore trust when it has been betrayed. The book will contain numerous exercises and quizzes, as well as formulas that quantify the economies of trust and show its importance in an organization. Stories of managers and employees working through issues of trust in many different real-life situations cover many different corporate situations and scenarios (acquisitions, slowdowns, and internal and external crises), making this the most complete guide on the subject for managers.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Richard Robinson Chairman, CEO, and President, Scholastic Inc. Since the bottom line is directly affected by people and how they feel about their work, The Trusted Leader shows us how building trust will keep the organization strong in the good times and the bad. The authors show us, through examples and lists, how to keep everyone working productively in a trust-based, positive atmosphere.

Carl Stern CEO, Boston Consulting Group Most of the many books on leadership are either vapid or worse, promising a silver bullet that just doesn't exist. Galford and Drapeau focus on a simple, empowering truth — employees' and colleagues' trust in managers yields success. This highly useful guide to leading by building and mobilizing trust is at once pragmatic and inspiring.

George Colony CEO, Forrester Research, Inc. This is precisely the right book at precisely the right time. Trust in American leaders hasn't been at such a low ebb since the Vietnam/Watergate era. Rob and Anne give clear direction on how trust will be rebuilt — on strategic, organizational, and personal levels. I expect their advice to become the touchstone for a whole new generation of leaders who will place trust at the center of their operational and personal values.

Richard G. Hamermesh Professor, Harvard Business School Rob Galford and Anne Seibold Drapeau have illuminated an overlooked aspect of the leadership equation. The Trusted Leader is practical and insightful. Extremely relevant in these days of executive excess.

Jon Younger, Ph.D. Senior vice president, leadership development, National City Corporation In this excellent and timely book, Galford and Drapeau show us how leaders consciously build and preserve the trust of their colleagues and subordinates. This book ought to be in the hands of every manager who is serious about driving the longer term success of their organization.

Michael Goss Managing director and chief administrative officer, Bain Capital, LLC None of us or our organizations will be as successful as we'd like to be unless we heed The Trusted Leader's advice to incorporate trust consciously and thoughtfully into our business practices and management approaches.

Richard D'Aveni Professor, Amos Tuck Graduate School of Business at Dartmouth, author of Hypercompetition The Trusted Leader is extraordinarily well written, engaging, and insightful about an ordinarily inscrutable topic. Building trust is the critical success factor of management, yet it is often nonexistent in today's world. This book is a must-read for every MBA and anyone aspiring to move up the corporate ladder or holding a position of authority. Read it and succeed as a leader and a person.

Publishers Weekly
With Wall Street teeming with questionable characters and their equally questionable practices, trust is a hot topic these days; Galford and Drapeau have perfect timing with their handbook for becoming an executive employees can actually put their faith in. A knitting-together of management theory, real-life anecdotes and snappy tools and self-assessment quizzes, the book tries gamely to be both authoritative and accessible. Its strongest section is a discussion of the "enemies of trusted leadership"-office archetypes ranging from power-hungry control freaks to underperforming slackers-who can undermine what a CEO is trying to achieve. The authors also share helpful tips on how leaders can handle brutal situations (e.g., mass layoffs) with the appropriate amount of class. Although at times weighed down with turgid writing and an overabundance of lists, the book succeeds in distilling what the authors readily admit is an "intangible:" the essence of great leadership. (Jan. 9) Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
Soundview Executive Book Summaries
Trust is crucial these days, as investors, managers, workers and consumers demand more from their business leaders. The Trusted Leader identifies the three critical types of trust that leaders need to master (strategic trust, organizational trust, and personal trust) and introduces a practical formula to help managers build organizational confidence. Through examples, advice and exercises, authors Galford and Drapeau present a comprehensive guide to building trust inside an organization. Copyright (c) 2003 Soundview Executive Book Summaries
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780743235402
  • Publisher: Atria Books
  • Publication date: 4/2/2011
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 825,475
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert M. Galford is currently a Managing Partner of the Center for Executive Development in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and was formerly the executive vice president and chief people officer of Digitas, Inc., a leading Internet professional services firm with over 1,400 employees. He taught for many years on executive programs at the Columbia Graduate School of Business and the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University, in addition to consulting to professional services firms, technology companies, and financial institutions.
Rob has lived and worked in both Western Europe and North America as a vice president of The MAC Group and its successor firm, Gemini Consulting. He has practiced law with the international firm of Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle in New York and Washington, and has also worked in investment management for Citicorp.
Rob's writing and commentaries on management have been published in the Boston Globe and he is a three-time contributor to the Harvard Business Review. He currently sits on the boards of directors of Forrester Research, Inc., and Access Data Corporation. He also hosts the business video Talk About Change! with the popular cartoon character Dilbert.
His educational background includes Liceo Segre, Turin, Italy; a B.A. in economics and Italian literature from Haverford College; an M.B.A. from Harvard; and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, where he was an associate editor of The Tax Lawyer. Rob lives with his family in Concord, Massachusetts. He may be reached at:

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Read an Excerpt


This book about trusted leadership is a surprising, accidental byproduct of the work Rob was doing around the skills of trusted advisors (the topic of his first book, with David Maister and Charles Green). Rob was teaching in a series of executive programs jointly delivered by the graduate business schools at Columbia and Kellogg/Northwestern, for the executives of a single firm. In each of those thirty sessions, he asked the participants to rank themselves — and then rank their colleagues — on how trusted they were as advisors to clients and customers. The striking results of that particular survey question, repeated every single time, session after session, was that a sizable percentage of the respondents had little or no confidence in their own partners' abilities to build trust! If such a gap in the level of trust existed inside the upper levels of an organization, Rob wondered, how could the organization ever develop the trust of its customers?

That question led us to explore just how to create and sustain trust among the members of a single organization. This challenge affects companies large and small, centralized and decentralized, global and local, and in our own work in recent years with and for companies of all sizes and shapes, we've personally learned a great deal. We wrote this book because we feel strongly that creating a community of trusted leaders who can then help trust permeate through all levels of an organization — particularly in today's business context — is critical to every company's long-term survival and success.

We wrote this book because even though there has been a great deal published about the role of the leader in creating a successful company, no one has ever given due credit to the important implications of having an organization with a trusted leader. A lot of literature addresses trust in families, between friends, and in society, as well as trust — and the related loyalty — between company and client. But trusted leadership — the force that guides and builds trust inside companies, between employees, between senior managers, across levels and departments — hasn't received nearly as much attention. Part of the reason is a widespread misconception that trust is trust, and that if you understand the dynamics of trust in one arena, you'll understand them in any other. This is simply not so. Just to cite one example, consider the relationship between company and client. If trust breaks down, one party or another can usually exit the relationship, perhaps not without some difficulty, but with few, if any, long-term aftereffects. "That relationship is over, but no worries; there are other, similar, vendors (or suppliers, or consultants, or what-have-you)." Trust issues inside an organization, however, more closely resemble the relationships in families living under one roof. Individuals usually can't just walk away and forget, and every action or reaction has a lasting ripple effect.

Yet trust issues inside organizations don't completely mirror those among family members either. Trust inside has its own unique set of dynamics. They are not widely understood, yet they are vitally important. Today's customer demands, the pressures to succeed competitively, and the new "employment contract" (the reality that there is no "employment contract" anymore) mean that trusted leadership is more important now than ever before. We have come to believe that creating organizations that are bound by strong, deep connections between peers, across levels, and across functions may be the only recipe for sustainable success.

Trusted leadership is not a "new economy" versus "old economy" issue. Nor is it an issue that is solely the challenge of running a large company versus a smaller-sized entity. Our background research and review of trust-related episodes at a number of companies (ranging from $20 million technology firms to $20 billion multinationals) demonstrate that trusted leadership is, above all, an issue of human interaction, and, as such, requires constant and vigilant treatment.

Trust is intangible — like culture — but it is useful to think of it as an "outcome" that results from very tangible processes. There are management tools you can use to become a trusted leader, and established, proven methods for sustaining trust inside and for repairing once-trusting relationships that have broken down.

The Trusted Leader is primarily for people in senior leadership roles. It is presented in five parts. The first part, "An Overview of Trusted Leadership" (Chapters 1 through 4), defines trust inside, the characteristics and competencies of the trusted leader, and the natural enemies of trust, in broad strokes. It also includes a self-assessment drill, to help you define where you are in your efforts to become a trusted leader and build trust inside your organization. (We're list-happy, and we like to put our readers through the occasional exercise.) In Part Two, "Identifying and Applying the Tools of Trusted Leaders" (Chapters 5 and 6), we identify and demonstrate the tools of trust-building on personal relationships inside the organization and relationships between leaders and the organization. Part Three, "How Trusted Leaders Work" (Chapters 7 through 9), drills down into what trust looks like — and how it can be created, reinforced, and strengthened — across levels, functions, and locations. Part Four, "Defining Moments" (Chapters 10 through 12), identifies those critical junctures when trusted leadership is tested, and also pinpoints specific opportunities for building trust inside. In Part Five, "Building Trust in Perspective" (Chapters 13 and 14), we take a longer, more personal view, examining in detail how trust breaks down, what a leader can do in a situation where trust must be rebuilt, and also what it means to build a legacy of trust. Finally, in the Afterword, you will find information about how you can participate in our ongoing research on trust after you have read this book.

All of the advice we offer is "pressure-tested." That is, it comes directly out of our research and work with companies of varying sizes that have experienced the pressures of roller-coaster change, market uncertainties, and strategic and operational turmoil. It comes out of leadership mistakes and successes we have observed. It also comes out of our own personal experiences as top managers working with middle managers and front-line employees. The real case examples we present throughout the book provide a level of detail that paints a clearer picture than a generic description ever could. Some are disguised (to protect both the innocent and the guilty), some are directly reported by the people involved. Some are several cases merged into one to emphasize a particular insight. They're all true, and we hope you think they're as compelling as we do in their illustrations of our theories.

We should note that in the course of our writing this book, the Enron case rose to the fore, calling into question the very essence of trusted leadership. It was followed shortly thereafter by revelations at Global Crossing, Adelphia Communications, Tyco, WorldCom, and others. We haven't dwelt on those cases, but we have included examples that are representative of some of the problems that those companies experienced, particularly since, to us, Enron's saga is, for example, the Perfect Storm of how trusted leadership goes awry. One of the most interesting aspects of that debacle has been its effects on Arthur Andersen and many other entities. (To be sure, this book does rest on the premise that the reader is trustworthy. In no way are we attempting to show people how to feign trustworthiness!)

September 11, 2001, also hadn't happened when we began to write. That tragic event has had a profound, enduring effect on how employers and employees think about what trust represents within organizations. It has highlighted the responsibilities of leaders and companies regarding the personal safety and emotional well-being of their employees. The influence of that horrific day and the issues it rediscovered are throughout the book, most prominently in the chapter on trust in times of crisis.

The ongoing issues of trust and trusted leadership in organizations have led us to create a Web site, We invite you to visit us there in order to contribute to the conversation. In the meantime, we hope that this book will help you become a better leader, more capable of building and sustaining trust-based organizations than before. With trusted leadership, organizations are better positioned to weather any crises and to seize any opportunities for success in the marketplace over the long term.

Copyright © 2002 by Robert Galford

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Table of Contents

Pt. 1 An Overview of Trusted Leadership 3
Pt. 2 Identifying and Applying the Tools of Trusted Leaders 73
Pt. 3 How Trusted Leaders Work 117
Pt. 4 Defining Moments 165
Pt. 5 Building Trust in Perspective 209
Afterword: The Trusted Leader Continues 251
Notes and References 253
About the Authors 257
Index 259
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Interviews & Essays

Trusted Leadership and the Critical Denominator
As most managers intuitively understand, trust in organizations is critical. Companies that have it in their organizations flourish. Those that don't fall rapidly into disarray. But what many executives overlook is that their best efforts to build and maintain trust inside won't succeed if they don't also work to overcome employees' natural resistance -- resistance to change, resistance to the unknown, resistance to risk.

Reduced to its essentials, there are three types of trust that organizations and their leaders need, and which require constant attention:

  1. Strategic Trust, which is trust in the company's mission, and in how you and your organization execute against that mission, both externally and internally.
  2. Personal Trust, which is your employees' trust that you, as an individual and as their leader, will treat them fairly, and that you will extend a level of care for their well-being.
  3. Organizational Trust, your employees' trust that the organization you lead is truly what it purports to be.
Much of trust building is logical. It can even be intuitive. But most people overlook one critical factor, and that is Resistance. With a capital R. Resistance in organizations can and does erode trust, even if everything else is going right. And it's going to stem from one (or more) of the following four sources: Skepticism, Fear, Frustration, and an Embedded We-They Mindset.

Skepticism...that your statements or actions are sincere or realistic. It's highly unlikely (sad, but true) that the people who make up your organization have never been hoodwinked, that they've only ever worked in trusted and trusting environments, that they're going to take whatever you say, and whatever you do, at face value.

You may be the one-in-a-million, extraordinarily lucky leader whose troops are 100 percent ready to commit to your plan. More likely, though, you're going to be facing at least some people who are "twice shy."

How can you overcome skepticism? Think stray cat or stray dog. Think pet from the shelter. Really! When you bring home such an animal, it's with the understanding that you have a long road ahead of you, and that only consistently kind, honest behavior is going to yield a loving, trusting relationship. Dealing with resistance borne of skepticism requires the same approach. Time -- time that you fill with consistent, trustworthy behavior -- is the initial answer.

And, since you're not really dealing with stray animals here, you have another highly effective action at your disposal, called frankness. You can talk about the roots of the skepticism you're facing. Even if you're not the new kid on the block, you can acknowledge what has gone on before and be as straightforward as you can be about what you think. Even if you were not involved in what made people skeptical, and even if you think it should be long-forgotten, you can demonstrate your understanding of the relevant history, and thus reinforce your credibility at the same time.

Fear...of negative consequences. People in organizations are all too often left with the sense that there is too much to be lost by taking risks. What can you do? Minimize the opportunity for those "might-have beens" by asking people to become part of the trust-building process. Ask for their advice. Use their responses. Show them that their input is valuable. One of the absolutely fundamental tools of trust building is getting people engaged by inviting them into the process rather than mandating their participation.

What constitutes an invitation? It could be a request for suggestions through email. It could be biweekly face-to-face meetings between small groups of people, their bosses, and their bosses' bosses.

Paul Clark, a senior executive at National City Corporation, volunteered the following: "Personally, I'm a big believer in meals," Clark said. "Sharing the commonality of a meal -- even if you're not talking about anything to do with the business -- opens things up. It gives people the chance to offer input or feedback on their own terms. Trust is so much about knowledge, and the way to gain knowledge is to invite people to share what they know, and to share of yourself in return."

Frustration...from being micro- or macromanaged. From being underutilized, undervalued, or underleveraged. It's demoralizing, to say the least, trying to do your best under one of those conditions. Take micromanagement as just one example. As one person, now president of her own business, told us: "Before I founded my own business, I worked as a senior-level manager at a communications company. I knew I was talented. But my direct superior could not keep herself from redoing everything I did. After a while, I stopped working so hard. I looked busy. But I really didn't try. If I did my best work, it would be totally redone. If I did my worst work, same deal. It got so that I hated getting new assignments, new clients. New projects are supposed to be exciting. For me they were torture."

What can you do to overcome resistance born of frustration? Take a good look at how closely -- or loosely -- your employees are managed. Department by department, manager by manager. Can you identify areas where you think your employees are either feeling suffocated or lost? Do you have a rainmaker manager whose department's accomplishments always look as thought they've been penned by the same hand? Do you sense any resentment? Talk to the managers in question about trying to establish a different style. Invite their thoughts (see above). Invite input from your rank-and-file. Could be the resistance you see is coming from people who might have a lot to contribute, if allowed to do so. Or from people who might have a lot to contribute, if only they had a little guidance.

Embedded We-They Mindsets: Sometimes these mindsets, related to hierarchy, or privilege, or even job title, are generations old, with no bearing in current reality. It doesn't matter. They are to resistance as fatwood is to a campfire.

There's another kind of we-they mindset to be wary of as well. We call it Narcissistic Egoism. When you hear the phrase "It's not my problem," you know you're dealing with narcissistic egoism. That short sentence speaks volumes about a person's natural tendency to back away from any kind of commitment to the organization-at-large, and in particular to building trust in the organization. These are individuals who tend to shy away from accountability. Perhaps it arises from a fear of punishment. It may grow out of a desire to protect their own turf or their own standing.

What can you do? Facing down either kind of we-they mindset requires the same approach: Incentivize and reward your resisters to behave like owners. If people feel as though they truly have a stake in the organization, if they believe that the organization's welfare is connected to their own, they are more likely to overcome their own resistance and allow themselves to become vested members of the organization. Financial and other tangible incentives that link individual well-being with corporate well-being are among the more obvious tools, yet they tend to address the symptom rather than the cause if they don't have a long-term component attached to them. Before financial incentives can really take hold, individuals need the "owner-like" mindset. That grows first out of good people selection criteria.

All four sources of resistance -- fear, skepticism, frustration, and embedded we-they mindsets -- can be conquered. But only if you're willing to stick your own neck out in the process. There are no subtle ways to overcome resistance. You have to meet the force of resistance with equal or greater strength. You also have to be willing to commit to a long-term effort. You have to be willing and able to overdeliver, over time.

In fact, our experience suggests that for most senior executives, resistance is the critical denominator, for which the game is won or lost. Robert Galford and Anne Seibold Drapeau

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