Teams pull together when there is trust. So a team leader has to be, above all things, a trustbuilder. Of the many qualities needed to fulfil that role, the first quality of a trustbuilder is courage.
That’s right, Courage. Other qualities like Listening, Compassion, Integrity and Flexibility are also vital. But Courage comes first.
Partly because ‘if you want to build bridges you have to be prepared to be walked on’. Not everyone is ready to build bridges. Not everyone is ready to trust. Those who want to remain hostile will attack the trustbuilder.
Also because reaching out to others in a meaningful way always means stepping out of your comfort zone.
But at the core, courage is needed simply to be true to our deepest selves.
So many people go through life hiding their true selves, following other people’s agendas and disconnected from their core essence. Trying to build trust with such people is like trying to build a house on shifting sands. It is like connecting to a mask…. the moment things get hard the mask slips off and the connection is lost.
When we have the courage to show our true selves, to let down the mask, it gives others around us permission to do the same.
Stephanie Dowrick, in her book Forgiveness and Other Acts of Love writes:
Courage comes out of and expresses love. This love may be intensely personal or individual, but it is just as likely to express a commitment to the belief that life itself is something marvellous, precious, worth having, worth living fully and, in ten thousand ways, worth fighting for.
Psychological and spiritual teachings increasingly suggest that the opposite of love is fear. Courage, as an expression of love, does not put an end to fear. Nothing can do that. Fear is part of the human condition. But courage offers something that can balance fear, draw the sting from it, put it in its place, open us to live, and set us free.
I like the link she makes between courage and a belief that life is something worth fighting for. Given that ‘fear is part of the human condition’ we need a big enough reason to keep fighting.
For each of us, that ‘big enough reason’ is something worth contemplating. It relates to our core beliefs about why we are here and what we were put on earth to accomplish. It is our response to the questions ‘Why me?’ and ‘Why now?’
If you don’t yet have a response to those questions, then you can forget about being a trustbuilder (or a leader, for that matter).
And if you do have a response, then it is still important to keep revisiting those questions. Life moves on. Our sense of self and purpose has to grow and develop as well, otherwise we find our courage diminishing and fear takes over again.
(Photo by Empty07, Flickr.com)
Helping individuals and teams get into flow