Do your colleagues trust you this much?

Jené Kapela Develop your leadership ability, Focus on you

I recently attended my first Cirque du Soleil show. Wow! It is quite an understatement to say I was impressed – not only by the performance, but also by level of trust the performers have for each other. The teamwork and precision required for the show to be successful (and for no one to get hurt) is of the highest level.

At any given moment, these performers are relying on their colleagues to be where they need to be and do what they need to do. They can’t doubt each other or question each other’s abilities. Instead, they must truly believe that everyone is fully committed to the team’s success.

Do you have this same level of trust with your colleagues? An even better question is, do your colleagues have this same level of trust in you? Here are three ways to live in such a way that you inspire trust:

Be authentic

Know what you’re good at and be great at those things. Have confidence in yourself. But don’t pretend to be something you’re not. This doesn’t mean you don’t continue to learn and grow, but you do so in such a way that aligns with your passions and natural talents. Live each day with purpose and according to your own values. Make decisions based on what you truly believe rather than what you think people expect you to do.

Honor your word

Quite simply, do what you say you’re going to do. If you commit to a project, follow through. If you promise to be somewhere at a certain time, be there. This doesn’t mean you can’t ever change your mind or reschedule appointments. But when you do, you are upfront about why these things happened and clear about how you are going to move forward. And when you make a mistake – like forgetting something you were supposed to do – you own up to it.

Show care for others

You don’t have to be everyone’s friend. (In fact, if you try to be everyone’s friend, you probably aren’t being authentic). But you do have to respect others as individuals and care about their success. One simple way to show care is to create win-win situations whenever possible. Another way is to look for the best in others. When you do this, you’re more likely to interact with them in ways that encourage them to be their best. What a great way to show you care!

I don’t know if it is reasonable to expect we’re ever going to trust the people around us enough to catch us from a flying trapeze or fling us into the air and balance us on outstretched hands, like the Cirque du Soleil performers do, but how amazing would it be if we did? It would surely change our working environment in a very significant way! The good news is you have the ability to lead by example and set the stage for trusting relationships by living in such a way that you inspire others to trust you.

Jene Kapela, Ed.D.

You can contact Jene at

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