Trust is an increasingly challenging issue for leaders.

More than 58% of CEOs worry that lack of trust in business relationships could harm their company’s growth, up significantly from 37% in 2013.*

Organizations that succeed in earning and retaining trust have much to gain. When business stakeholders effectively articulate their purpose, act transparently, and stand by their core values, trust and success can go hand-in-hand.

This is especially pertinent with regards to talent management. Trust as a corporate core value has become an equalizing force in organizational culture, moving power from a top-down, paternalistic authority model to a collaborative, peer-to-peer stakeholder model.

But how do those who have historically operated in a top-down authority model deal with change? This is a question that I pose for both sides … “The buck starts and stops with me,” as well as the flip side version,  “Who’s the boss? Who’s in charge? Who do I report to?”

To establish trust, a new relationship to leadership is required. It is not enough to simply write a new mission statement and have the power to command. A fundamental and profound transformation must occur within the entire culture about an individual’s voice and value that is NOT based on age, gender, ethnicity, education and status. A sustained focus on individual, team and organizational core values must be rigorously maintained as the building blocs for this new phenomenon of “leadership through the power of “we.”

CXO’s who build cultures of inter-dependent leaders that collaborate across teams, units, divisions, sectors, borders, markets, and the public at large will lead the future. Not because they are the hero that saves the day, but because they have a profound relationship to empowering their entire workforce.

As Gandhi said,  “There goes my people. I must follow them for I am their leader.”

*Robert E. Moritz, Global Chairman, PricewaterhouseCoopers International

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