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Leading For Future Shaping – Trust Matters

Written by: Albana Vrioni, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


Today leaders are profoundly challenged on their astuteness to lead for future shaping. Uncertainty has deeply affected business relationships among stakeholders locally and even more so across cultures and boundaries. An increasing tension on what may seem conflicting priorities and opposite orientations, requires from leaders to expand their perspective on leading beyond probable futures and making the realization of the aspired futures their north star.

And in doing so, TRUST matters.

What we observe in helping leaders through change and what neuroscience of leadership confirms now, is that getting to the next level of greatness, individually and collective, depends on the quality of our relationships, which depends on the intelligence of our conversations – inner and outer conversations.

Our inner conversations are the ones that define our convictions, our mindset.

The outer conversations are the ones that define our alliances, our reputation, our power of influence – whether in public, economic, or cultural sphere.

The inner conversations define what hopes and what aspirations, and what image we set for ourselves. One cannot go beyond the aspirations and image one sets for oneself.

Can you imagine what impact this has on how we lead others?

The outer conversations are an extension of what happens inside. Although we have learned to adapt how we show up to different situations, like family, friends, business, entertainment, politics, etc., our inner conversations will set the limit for how far we can go in the quality of the relationships we set with others, and notable on TRUST building.

At the very end, far from riches and fame, a good soul desires to have a happy and healthy life. And a good life is built on good relationships. The 80 years long Harvard study on Adult Development, has found that good, supporting relationships, keep us happier and healthier. Such relationships are characterized by social connection, uplifting close relationships, and secure protective relationships (counting on the other person when the going gets tough).

However, as humans, we like a quick fix – and in search of a good quick solution that makes us feel good while relationships are messy and complicated, a lifelong never-ending investment. When roles in corporate or in the office are perceived to be time limited, quick fixes take priority. But quick fixes do not convene trust and tend to undermine it.

Because people are social beings, we are in constant pursuit of “certainty”, and thus in search of relationships that offer us more certainty. “Uncertainty is the fulcrum between trust and distrust.” says Judith E. Glasser in her work. So, trust becomes central to succeeding longer term.

How do we create trust?

First and foremost, we need to understand 3 core principles of Trust building

  • Trust is chemical – when we trust, we experience a neurochemistry of feeling good- which we want to repeat. So, people are in search of trust chemistry and of trust-based relationships…

  • Trust is not singular – even when two people trust each other, for this trusting personal relationship to sustain and expand its impact in the business relationships one need to develop “the trust circle” – expanding trusting relationships to include the ecosystem of the key players, and where the interaction of the second and the third layer players is such that reinforces the trust of the first layer players.

  • Trust is contextual – when people fare distressed and feel under threat, a decisive even autocratic leader induces trust, while “a servant, participative” leader creates distrust.

Second, we need to look at the mindset of trust-building our beliefs about trust.

Thomas Jefferson is quoted to have said: “Sometimes it is said that man cannot be trusted with the government of himself. Can he, then be trusted with the government of others?”.

If we can believe that one is capable of leading self to noble intentions, not causing harm to others at the benefit of self, then one can trust on trust. Your Trust Mindset is shaped through the answers you tend to give to 3 main questions:

  • Do you have faith in people to do the right thing?

  • Do you expect people to stay loyal to you, and can you count on them?

  • Do you tend to see people as hopeful or as hopeless on what can be achieved?

In working on our beliefs on trust, it’s worth it to consider how we create beliefs (i.e. convictions). Again, a quote from Thomas Jefferson’s, taken form “The Art of Power” is my reference here: “Conviction is the effect of our dispassionate reasoning, either in solitude or weighing within ourselves dispassionately what we hear from others standing uncommitted in argument ourselves.” In a world where leaders are under pressure and in the hurry of doing, thinking about how we do something is less and less common. It is, however, an indicator of strategic thinking and the number one factor predicting sustainable success. The practices of mindfulness are an effective way to create deliberate beliefs that regulate trustworthiness in selves and others.

And third, we need to look at the habits of trust building.

One powerful habit and skill of trust-building is setting up for Navigational Listening, a concept coined by Judith E. Glaser in her work about Conversational Intelligence, whereby we listen to connect, to make the invisible visible.

The other one is how we architect and modulate our conversations, how we use words to create aspiring worlds. We can use our words and conversations to elevate threats and power over people or to enhance forces and power with people. This makes the whole difference in shaping our mindset around “trust”.

Finally, 3 core mindfulness practices of elevating Insight, Hindsight and Foresight and converting them into action prove extremely powerful in creating an inner-outer alignment and conveying bonding trust. One habit that my clients find useful is the activation of the “3rd eye” this place in our executive brain that connects intention and impact and affects interpretation. There are, of course, a handful of such techniques that help leaders sharpen their mindset and build trust.

I believe that when busy leaders master their inner and outer conversations to convey trust, they can be a lot more effective in leading themselves and others toward aspired futures, well beyond probable futures.

Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!


Albana Vrioni, Exexcutive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Albania Vrioni coaches and advises business leaders worldwide on Generative Leadership and Entrepreneurship supporting them re-imagine the future, see beyond what’s obvious, and reconcile conflicting truths and competing values. Having succeeded in critical transitions, Albana developed strategies on how to shift the mindset for creative achievement, boost resourcefulness, and manage one's energy to achieve what matters and thrive in changing the game.

Her mission: A conscious leader in each game changer.



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