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Trust, the fundamental requirement of management


Good managers require certain characteristics for success.

Contrary to popular belief, being charismatic is not one of them. There are many great managers who have led their organisations to unprecedented sustained success with personal charisma no greater than that of a dead fish.

There are many other qualities that sit on the scale of what is required, but none more than TRUST.

Trust must be the starting point for every relationship – inside and outside the organisation

It is possible to work for someone who one does not like. It is possible to be managed by those whom we don’t respect or even agree with. But if there is lack of trust, then no reasonable working relationship can be established.

Trust, from a management perspective, is simply practicing what one preaches – the congruence of one’s actions with one’s words. It is not a test of morality, but a test of consistency – of performance against professed beliefs.

Everyone in the organisation must be able to rely on the manager with an acceptable level of variance for his/her human frailty – for none of us are perfect.

The converse must also exist –where managers must have trust in their people. S/he must be able to rely on them to carry out their duties with a certain level of effort and expertise.

In almost every organisation I have managed, I have eliminated the requirement for a medical certificate or a doctor’s note for those who are unable to work due to illness.

It is a very simple exercise but one that exemplifies the culture of trust.

For if I cannot trust someone when they tell me they are too sick to work, how can I trust them to work with me in the first place.

I have found this rather elementary act of faith, reciprocated with enormous sincerity from those I work with.

Trust and good manners (by which we mean honest and authentic communication), are fundamental requirements of any relationship – particularly in performing organisations.


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