The Trusted Leader by Robert M. Galford and Anne Seibold Drapeau

Book Review (Business Books)


Please click here to check the book price and shipping information ...
The Trusted Leader : Bringing Out the Best in Your People and Your Company
by Robert M. Galford and Anne Seibold Drapeau
Hardcover - 279 pages
First Edition, December 31, 2002
Published by The Free Press
A Division of Simon & Schuster
ISBN 0-7432-3539-8 / ISBN 0743235398

The Trusted Leader by Robert M. Galford and Anne Seibold Drapeau is written for managers of business personnel, and teaches them how to improve staff morale and increase profits at the same time, these two ends being closely interlinked.

I predict that the book will be equally valuable for other purposes, e.g., a reference for social workers or psychologists who counsel people who are depressed because they dislike their jobs, and sociologists seeking to understand the perception of many who feel trapped in unenjoyable jobs. It will be an eye-opener for a job hunter who seeks a company with little bureaucracy and more freedom. It will be a brainstorming reference for labor engaging in collective bargaining. The narrative throughout, however, is that of practical advice for managers who are willing to admit that one gains trust by first being trustworthy, and the increases in productivity will follow.

Galford teaches business management at Harvard. Drapeau is an industry personnel manager.

The Trusted Leader : Bringing Out the Best in Your People and Your Company by Robert M. Galford and Anne Seibold Drapeau

Do any of these symptoms sound familiar when you reflect on your own workplace? Office politics leaves people with the feeling that they are not "free to do their work." [page 8] "People waste a lot of time trying to figure out where the organization is heading"; [10] that is, they feel as though they are "lost in the desert" [108] -- they are thinking, "We don't know where we're going, but we're making good time." [108] "People tend to make decisions too quickly; they want to produce results so that the spotlight can be off them and on to the next person as quickly as possible." [12] Pressure prevents employees from honestly communicating, "I need more time to get this right." [12] Sometimes good people leave the company, not because of their type of work or their compensation, but because of the atmosphere within the organization. [15]

If so, it's likely the case that the managers need to learn about what the authors call trusted leadership.

The kinds of trust needed are of three types: strategic trust, organizational trust, and personal trust. [6-8] Improvements in these areas will bring about 10 identifiable benefits to your bottom line, for example, time will be used more efficiently; the quality of the product will improve; fewer of your skilled people will want to leave. [8-16]

The case is made with reference to true stories. One company held staff meetings called "town meetings"and encouraged everyone to bring up any subject concerning them. The previous attitude of resistance was transformed by people volunteering to help. [9] Another company went bankrupt and defaulted on its debts to vendors. Later the company recovered in reorganization, and returned to the same vendors to settle old debts and make plans for the future. [14]

The narrative flows into and back from workbook activities and practical exercises, including the "trusted leader self-assessment" worksheets in chapter 2. [21-27]

The authors propose "five stages of building personal trust" [75]. Personally, I suggest that stage two, "listening" [78], is primary. I also praise the authors for reminding managers not to overreact to every sign of "resistance" on the part of the staff. "It's natural. It's inevitable. It's perennial." [100]

An overview of morale predicaments is followed by a practical and quantitative formula. Try to recognize skepticism, that is, a common doubt "that your statements or actions are sincere or realistic" [101] Observe whether emotions seem to include "fear ... of negative consequences" [102] Perceive whether your staff feels "frustration ... from being micro-managed or macro-managed .... from being underutilized, undervalued, or under-levereged." [103] Watch out for "imbedded we-they mindsets" [104] Use these observations in a quantitative way with the authors' "organizational trust formula" [110] This is a calculation that includes positive and negative factors to lead to a final score, showing where a particular situation fits between the best case and worst case extremes in organizational trust.

I'd be very cautious of the recent trend of trying to apply Rudy Giuliani's Leadership to the average workplace. As mayor of New York City, Giuliani micromanaged the police department to compel the crime rate to drop. However, using such top-down micromanagement in a typical business is a recipe for disaster. If would make your staff feel as though they are imprisoned in a dictatorship, and they would focus on contriving look-good reports and oratory, rather than real productivity and excellence. You'll have much better results with the proposed trusted leadership program, which will begin a wave of passion for the work and pride in its performance. You will be able to "encourage your resisters to behave like owners." [105]

As I reflect on the crooks who ran and ruined Enron, the thought emerges: The Trusted Leader by Galford and Drapeau is the answer to the irony that a discussion of trust is increasingly absent from many management books and courses, just as our crisis-ridden technological age makes the subject increasingly vital.

Book review by Mike Lepore for crimsonbird.com

Hardcover only. 279 pages. 14 chapters in 5 parts. 5 pages of notes and references. 10-page 2-column index. No illustrations.

Please click here to check the book price and shipping information ...
This is an Amazon.com link for
The Trusted Leader : Bringing Out the Best in Your People and Your Company
by Robert M. Galford and Anne Seibold Drapeau
ISBN 0-7432-3539-8 / ISBN 0743235398

Book excerpt reprinted with the permission of the publisher

THE PRINCIPLES OF TRUSTED LEADERSHIP

Trusted Leadership takes many forms. From the way the CEO talks to the members of his or her senior management team, to the way front-line employees show how they feel about the company in the way they deal with customers. From the way people get promoted, or passed over for promotion, to the expectations they have when they sign on or leave. In order to get a handle on trust inside, you need to develop some form of 360-degree, multidimensional perspective on the way trust manifests itself in the leadership group. Or doesn't.

Trusted leadership shows itself as the sum total of many interpersonal interactions, all of them extraordinarily fragile. Even in the best work environments, trust is potentially under attack all the time. Every time one manager says something about another without his or her knowledge; every time two staffers meet at the coffee machine; every e-mail sent, every announcement made, every time a high-profile executive walks down a hall or engages in casual conversation. Trust needs vigilant protectors.

Every day, every organizational juncture provides opportunities for building trusted leadership. Every instance in which trust might come under attack is also an instance in which trust might be created or strengthened. Every meeting with your employees give them a chance to see you and other leaders in action, hopefully not posturing or wearing false smiles.

The speed at which trust is destroyed is always faster than the speed at which it is built, but the process of building trust does accumulate deposits in your company's "trust bank." A major violation of trust can quickly spread and poison an entire organization if it's not managed properly, however, no matter how strong that organization's "trust account' had been up to that point. A leadership group that works to build trust inside achieves a rhythm that helps it move smoothly through the kinds of business situations that cause other leadership groups to sputter and stall.

Your "account balance" provides a buffer of sorts. Where there is a history of trust, people are more inclined to give the company the benefit of the doubt in tough or questionable situations.

An individual's ability to build and maintain trust with clients correlates with his or her ability to build and maintain trust inside. Relationships with clients are all about expectations, promises and delivery. So are relationships inside an organization. You can only set realistic expectations and make good on promises from the inside out if you're sure that the organization behind you can deliver. Your professionalism and certainty requires trust.

Becoming a trusted leader requires both message and medium. In other words, inspiring language, by itself, won't do the trick. Trust is intangible, but the acts of building, maintaining, and repairing trust require concrete processes. For example, you could easily proclaim, "From now on, the head of marketing will work to build trust with the head of finance!" Heads may nod, people may say "Aye, aye!" But the words by themselves are meaningless. If your head of marketing thinks about his need to build trust, however, and picks up the phone to call the head of finance to discuss a touchy resource allocation issue in advance instead of resetting it as a fait accompli a week later, then that's progress.

Trusted leadership is a combination of what you accomplish (outcomes) plus who you are (skills and competencies). Great outcomes and trustworthiness are often found together.

Please click here to check the book price and shipping information ...
This is an Amazon.com link for
The Trusted Leader : Bringing Out the Best in Your People and Your Company
by Robert M. Galford and Anne Seibold Drapeau
ISBN 0-7432-3539-8 / ISBN 0743235398

Book excerpt reprinted with the permission of the publisher

AVOID PROMISES YOU CAN'T KEEP

  • I have no hidden agenda
  • There won't be any more layoffs
  • This time we've got it fixed
  • This will not have an impact on bonuses
  • I don't see any reason why this will slow us down
  • This will actually improve (fill in your choice: our communication, our responsiveness, our processes)
  • The customer will love this
  • This will reinforce our commitment to our people
  • We will be stronger as a result
  • I have faith in our team
  • We've got the right people on this
  • This is the last time ...
  • This will be the first time ...
  • This is the hardest thing this company will ever have to do
  • We'll see results from this in three months
  • This will dramatically increase our market share
  • This will change the way our company operates
  • Read my lips. No new taxes

AVOID INCONSISTENT MESSAGING

  • Is it easier to get promoted in one department of your company than in another?
  • Did you take your new vice president of marketing out to lunch when he got promoted two months ago, but fail to respond in kind when you appointed a new head of IT?
  • Do you tell one department that they are "the most important part" of your organization?
  • Does one corporate location have palatial offices, and another have a cramped space?
Please click here to check the book price and shipping information ...
This is an Amazon.com link for
The Trusted Leader : Bringing Out the Best in Your People and Your Company
by Robert M. Galford and Anne Seibold Drapeau
ISBN 0-7432-3539-8 / ISBN 0743235398

Book excerpt reprinted with the permission of the publisher

The Five A's:

  • Aspirations
    Identify what keeps people working and focus your organization's aspirations by looking up and out at the same time that you're meeting Monday-morning demands.
  • Abilities
    Make sure your organization has the resources to execute its stated aspirations, and that your company is empowering employees to put life into their vision.
  • Actions
    Don't let distractions, crises, or crusades slow down your organization's productive momentum.
  • Alignment
    Be consistent in your aspirations, and consistent between your aspirations and your abilities, your aspirations and your actions, your abilities and your actions.
  • Articulation
    Communicate with your peers, your reports, your company at large, as if you have an orchestra and you can use every instrument in turn, or in groups, or en masse, whatever your choice.

Book review by Amazon.com reprinted with permission

Who do you trust at work and who trusts you? By inviting readers to answer these two questions, authors Galford and Drapeau get their arms around the slippery yet strategic dimension of trust in organizations. The Trusted Leader is grounded in their research and experience in executive development. The authors define three areas of trust, including strategic trust (assurance the organization is doing the right things), organizational trust (belief in the way things are being done), and personal trust (confidence between leader and employees). These ideas are illuminated through self-assessments and definitions of the competencies of a trusted leader. One standout chapter introduces the enemies of trusted leadership, from the big daddy syndrome and the revenging angel to the rainmaker/jerk. Another section details how defining events such as downsizing can build or break trust. The book would have been strengthened by a clearer explanation of how trust inside the organization translates into gaining the confidence of outside clients and customers. Still, in this era of headline-grabbing corporate trust-breakers, Galford and Drapeau define what it means to be trustworthy. In their capable hands, trust stops being an intangible noun and becomes an active verb.

-- Barbara Mackoff

Please click here for current price and shipping information ...
This is an Amazon.com link for
The Trusted Leader : Bringing Out the Best in Your People and Your Company
by Robert M. Galford and Anne Seibold Drapeau
ISBN 0-7432-3539-8 / ISBN 0743235398