Leadership Lessons #1 – Engagement & Trust

Every week, YES Prep school directors send ‘staff notes’ to their campus staff with all the must-have information for that week.  Often, they open with an essay or lesson.  This series, Leadership Lessons, will share a selection of those essays with you.
Our first installment comes from Chris Claflin, School Director at YES Prep Brays Oaks.
“Disengagement all comes down to trust.” – Dustin Peterson
I was in a meeting with Dustin Peterson, the director of leadership development, and he shared this quote with me which resonated greatly. The foundation of every relationship we have is built on trust whether it be with fellow staff, managers, students or any one in our life. How do you know if you have built trust with someone? Ask yourself these questions:

  • Does the person acknowledge with you when they have made a mistake?
  • Do you acknowledge with them when you have made a mistake?
  • How easily does the person share personal information with you?
  • Does the person come to you for help when they need it? Do you go to that person for help or advice when you need it?
  • Do you accept and engage when that person leads you into new and challenging endeavors?
  • Do you make the effort to share constructive feedback with that person and are accepting of it from them?

This is not an exhaustive list but when you measure any conversation you have with someone, if these questions cannot be answered positively, there is room for trust to be built. What is the cost of this trust not existing with as many people as we can leverage? Engagement. If you are not engaged, you are not invested and if you are not invested there is little hope for success in anything you are doing.
All of us have people on campus that we have learned to trust in one way or another – staff and students alike. An example is this picture of the girls’ volleyball team practicing late into the evening last Friday. This drill involved them jumping over each other to develop their skills in approaching the net. The girls willingly laid down because Kevin has created purposeful opportunities for them to build trust as a team. And they are all engaged and committed as a result. In the classroom as well, authentic engagement does not just come from a well-planned lesson, but the students’ ability to take risks with you on the journey you are leading them on, and people will only follow those that they trust.
What have you done to build that trust with the people you are close to? It did not happen accidentally or by happenstance. It was built with purposeful actions, conversations or experiences. Imagine if you had that trust with two, three, four times as many people as you do and the impact it would have on your ability to engage and their ability to engage. The benefit would be huge and the engagement incalculable. Commit each day to taking the time to build trust where you see it lacking. That, in the end, is the most foundational thing we can do to strengthen our campus.

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