Frontline Festival-May 2013: Trust and Transparency Edition

Welcome to the May Frontline Festival. Thanks to all the amazing thought leaders sharing their perspectives on Trust and Transparency.

Building Trust

Wally Bock of Three Star Leadership says you “can’t build trust,” in his post How do I trust thee? Trust is important, but it has more than one dimension. I like that he differentiates between being trusted as a person and being trusted as a leader, with salient examples of a newly promoted team leader.

New to the Festival, Henna Inam, of Transformational Leadership, shares her post How To Influence Others Powerfully. She explores the linkage between influence and trust. I agree with her statement, “influence expands in direct proportion to trust and connection.”

Jonathan Green, of Monster Leaders, shares The Three Rules for a Prospering Work Culture. Jonathan teaches, “Sharing is caring. It is critically important to keep people in the know and connect them through honesty, sharing experiences and promoting open dialogue.”

Trusting Your Team

“He who does not trust enough, Will not be trusted.”
~Lao Tzu

Lolly Daskal of Lead From Within offers great advice for building trust in her post, Just Trust Me. My favorite point, “Trust is a two-way street. To make someone trustworthy, you need to trust them first. The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.”More leaders need this message.

John Hunter of Curious Cat shares, Trust Your Staff to Make Decisions. “Often the basic problem is managers don’t trust their systems to hire and develop people. The solution to this problem is not to give your staff no authority. The solution is to manage your systems so that you can trust your people.”

Mark Miller of Great Leaders serve shares his post Great Teams Take a Leap of Faith we must trust that building community will reap rewards.

Trusting Yourself

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.
~Steve Jobs

Dan McCarthy, of Great Leadership shares, Authentic Leadership Development: Your Past, Present and Future He shares, “Becoming an authentic leader involves transformation. It’s not “doing” leadership, it’s figuring out who you are and who you want to be as a leader.”

I love this post from Eric Dingler of, because he starts by considering how you trust yourself. Are You the Leader The Team You Are Looking to Lead Is Looking to Follow? He asks provocative questions: “Would you follow you? Are you trustworthy? Do you really want what’s best for your team? Are you in it for them? Do you let your team get to know you? Would you want your kids to grow up and work for you?”

Matt McWilliams of Life. Leadership. Love. Learned the Hard Way. Shares his journey toward becoming a better leader in, Feedback for Leaders (Or, You Suck, Sincerely, Your Team). I admire his candid insights.

Leigh Steere shares her Lead Change post, Your Executive Title Does Not Make You a Leader. She interviews an exec who chose to leave her leadership post, in order to remain a leader. “Laura concluded, “I was actively uninspired. I could not stay, because I am a leader.” Powerfully provocative.

Elements of Trust

I love the angle taken by Joan Kofodimos of Teleos Consulting in her post, The Dark Side of Trust. She provides specific actions we can take to “take responsibility for identifying your own interests and negotiate to get them met.” Sometimes what feels like a breach of trust, may be a gap in expectations.

Tal Shnall of Habits of the Heart, breaks down several components of trust in his post, The Meaning of Trust. My favorite, “if you are willing to place other people’s concerns and aspirations on the top of your agenda, you will be able to expand the trust with them for the long run.”

Linda Fisher Thornton of Leading in Context asks What Variables Impact How Freely We Extend Trust. She has a nice list, what would you add?

Greg Marcus of Idolbuster shares a chapter from his excellent book, Busting Your Corporate Idol, Who to Trust at Work.

When Trust Breaks Down

“Never trust anything that can think for itself if you can’t see where it keeps its brain.”
~J.K. Rowling

New to the Festival, Skip Prichard of Skip Prichard Leadership Insights, interviews Scott Weiss on the “crises of trust” in his post, The Challenge of Trusting Leadership. He invites Weiss to “speak to the new graduate who is just starting out. What can he or she do to avoid the shocking experience you had when you first were exposed to these concepts?”

Blair Glaser  exposes the risks of following in Are You Strong Enough to Be My Fan. My favorite line, “There is a way to follow that won’t set you or the leader up for a fall. You’ve got to be strong. You’ve got to recognize the human fallibility in all of us.”

Bob Winchester shares  Five Reasons Your Boss Doesn’t Trust You– How To Break Through Corporate Culture Revolution. He also offers tips for recovering when you screw up.

David Dye, of Trailblaze shares, Can We Really Trust Your Leadership? He’s got an interesting story that will make you feel better about your driving, as well as tips for building trust in the midst of a mistake.


“What passes for woman’s intuition is often nothing more than man’s transparency.”
~George Jean Nathan

Dan Rockwell of Leadership Freak, exposes the dangers of hiding your views in Death to Bobble Head Leaders. “Leaders become bobble heads to protect position and get promoted. It’s dishonest and disingenuous. Look around. How many bobbing heads sit at the table?” The best question, “Is anyone disruptive?”

Jennifer V. Miller of The People Equation says that leadership bloggers are fond of touting “transparency” as a path to authentic leadership. But are there times when disclosure is not the best policy? Find out in her post Is Leadership Transparency Always the Best Policy?

Also new to the Festival, Randy Conley,shares Four Strategies to Increase Organizational Trust & Transparency. In today’s fast-paced, globally connected business world in which we live, an organization’s successes and failures can be tweeted across the internet in a matter of seconds. A knee jerk reaction of many organizational leaders is to clamp down on the amount of information shared internally, with hopes of minimizing risk to the organization. Many times this backfires and ends up creating a culture of risk aversion and low trust.

Jon Mertz, of Thin Difference shares Trust: At the Speed of Social Media. As Generation Y or Millennials grow in workplace presence, this new definition of transparency (Transparency = Accountability) is a reality. Jon shares some of my same concerns over the over-use of the word “transparency.” He writes, ” personally, I never like the word transparent. It seems so flimsy; something high-priced people say. It has become bureaucratic-speak or position talking points. With social media, transparency turns into immediate accountability, which is what it should be.”with social media, transparency turns into immediate accountability, which is what it should be.”

Becky Robinson, of Weaving Influence asks, what is the right level of transparency, in her post, Transparency. The post elicited an excellent comment, worth reading, it begins. “I think that there is a danger here of mistaking transparency with openness (and lack of discretion for that matter)”

Thanks to all the contributors. June’s Frontline Festival is all about Conflict and Conflict Resolution. Submissions due June 7th.

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Posted in Authenticity & Transparency, Frontline Festival and tagged , , , .

Karin Hurt

Karin Hurt, Founder of Let’s Grow Leaders, helps leaders around the world achieve breakthrough results, without losing their soul. A former Verizon Wireless executive, she has over two decades of experience in sales, customer service, and HR. She was recently named on Inc's list of 100 Great Leadership Speakers and American Management Association's 50 Leaders to Watch. She’s the author of 3 books: Winning Well: A Manager's Guide to Getting Results-Without Losing Your Soul, Overcoming an Imperfect Boss, and Glowstone Peak.


  1. I love being able to see all of these different perspectives on the same topic. So much creativity and knowledge in one place!!!

    Thanks for including me Karin!

  2. Karin, a great post as usual. It is comprehensive and covers so many angles of trust. You leave no black spots.
    Now, the story. I was on the board of a prominent company. The board members decided on a new candidate for appointment as a new director. I reviewed the qualifications of the candidate and they were beyond expectations. What made me doubtful was that he had a 100% positive appraisal. A human in an angel image! I phoned to enquire about him. One said “yes, he is the best man you may hire”. But no human is perfect and there must be something about him less than perfect. “yes, only a MINOR thing- he is not always honest”. That was enough to reverse the decision, How you could trust a person if his honesty is in doubt?

    Karin- a final word following this boring story. You may wish to inspect my presentation “Rust without Trust”

    • Ali, thank you so much for your story… dishonesty is show stopping. I REALLY Love the presentation you attached. I have to go to work now, but I look forward to spending more time with it this weekend. Thank you so much for sharing it with the LGL community. All, take a look, it’s an substantial contribution to the festival. I always encourage people to share their links. The more we share, the more we all grow. Namaste.

  3. Karin,

    What a wonderful and enriching festival on TRUST and TRANSPARENCY it is always exciting to see what other people are thinking and sharing on this topic.

    Thanks again for the wonderful accumulation of knowledge and wisdom and I am honored to be included.

    Lolly Daskal
    Lead From Within

  4. Another great collection, Karin!

    Trust is the currency of leadership and you’ve provided useful investment tips!

    Now I will go add ‘driving tips’ to my list of services 😉

    Take care,


    • Matt, it’s so much fun to collect the thinking from so many great minds. Agreed…tuning in each month could provide quite a free and valuable education 😉

  5. Excellent posts and words from great thinkers and doers of leadership. I look forward to reading and learning from next month’s submissions

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