One of the building blocks of trust is demonstrating and living integrity as a leader.

And here are at least three behaviors we can intentionally show at any moment in time:

1) Call the things as they are, tell the truth and check whether your reality is the same as the others. Show honesty.

2) Equally apply the agreements to everyone, whatever they are. Bring high attention to fairness.

3) Communicate clearly and leave the right impression, as you have originally planned to do. Live authenticity.

All those three steps will lead to an integer behavior. This behavior is one of the growing seeds of a plant full of trust.

Good leaders have good teams; great leaders have great teams.

A trustful environment helps a team to focus its energy on the goal. Uncertainty and skepticism about the team members’ genuine intentions are one of the factors that can distract the focus. That creates unnecessary questions, gives a lot of food for interpretation and inference.
We do not need to lose the groups valuable energy in climbing the ladder of inference.
Clarity on why do we work with the team, how do we work and what do we want to achieve, helps. The dialogue about the plans of the team members increases the confidence level of the team.

What to do? Where to start?

As a leader, first, share your intention with your team. And then listen what others have to say.

Good leaders have good teams; great leaders have great teams.

Many organizations are experiencing hard times making the agile way of working as their “working style.“ Among the other reasons, for not being able to sustain the agility in the organization, the main reason is the “cultural mismatch.“ Furthermore, we hear also that the lack of “agile mindset“ is the primary cause of failure in agile transformation.

Here is a way to deal with this complexity.

First of all, agility means being able to act from multiple types of consciousness. What are the consciousness levels an agile organization has to have?

The most successful organizations with highly engaged and motivated employees operate from a wide range of consciousness. For agility we have to have the primary focus on the levels which highly support the collaborative way of working (cf. Seven Levels Of Consciousness of Richard Barrett, Barrett Values Centre):

7-LevelsInternal Cohesion: A sense of purpose and strong internal community (level 5), 

Transformation: On-going improvement and employee participation (level 4),

Self-Esteem: High-performance systems and processes (level 3),

Relationship: Positive relationships that support organization needs (level 2)

All those levels have an apparent connection to the Scrum Values (here is another article on Scrum Values map to consciousness levels), which are crucial for complex product development. An organization which does not let the employees act on those consciousness levels -ideally at the same time- will have difficulty to succeed in agility and thus in business. That’s the reason why we start talking about “cultural mismatch.“

What defines the organizational consciousness? Employees. Sure. But the role-model of a leader is much more relevant. An organization can not operate in a higher consciousness then its leader or leadership team.

Here is the point: The Leadership style requires alignment with the consciousness levels of an agile organization.

In other words, the leader needs to lead -at least- as:

  • Inspirational leader (level 5),
  • Facilitator, influencer (level 4),
  • Performance Manager (level 3), and
  • Relationship Manager (level 2)  

Leaders who are not leading or not ready to act from the mentioned consciousness levels will inevitably block the team’s and transformations progress. That’s the reason why we start talking about “lack of agile mindset.” 

Those levels go hand in hand, and it requires a reasonable level of reflection to keep them working together.

We can not accept from teams to be high performing and self-organized overnight after visiting 2-day Agility Training. Even worse, we expect young people to become an Agile/Scrum Master/Coaches and building high-performing teams just after the training.

Without mastering the behavior at “Relationship“ level, teams can hardly produce consistently high-quality results. 

There are ways to deal with agile culture and agile mindset in a way, which allows us to take valuable steps towards our goals by making the status transparent, inspecting and adapting.

Here are the steps for transparency:

1. Measure your Company’s culture (Cultural Values Assessment);

2. Measure your Leader’s Values/Mindset (Leadership Values Assessment or LeadershipMindset®);

3. Measure your Team’s Culture/Effectiveness (Small Group Assessment or Agile Team Effectiveness Assessment);

Inspect:

See the gaps in organizational, leadership and employee level.

Adapt: 

Focus on structure and 1-2 behavior to change and follow-up in a disciplined way.

What we assess, we can address.

Agile way of working and nurturing agile mindset is mainly the “Value Driven Leadership” with the high level of Self-Awareness knowing from which LeadershipMindset® we operate.

There are many ways to build trust within an organization or team, where people work highly satisfied and engaged. One of them is helping each other.
We feel happiness and satisfaction if we can help others or make positive changes in their life. As we can help others and make them happy, the same way others can help us and makes us happy too.

And there are for sure many opportunities to get supported (otherwise you do not need a team).
Ask genuinely for help, if you want to see how the trust is emerging within your team.

Another positive side effect will be that you get more self-confident since you are showing vulnerability.
The best way to connect is DIRECT connection without the colors of EGO.
Connection through help bonds a team and creates trust.

Good leaders have good teams; great leaders have great teams.

What is self-awareness in the leadership context?

Self-Awareness is in the center of LeadershipMindset. Our emotions and actions form our mindset. The better we know about our feelings, like “what we are feeling and why we are feeling,” the more it will help us understand how the emotions are supporting us and how they are hindering us from moving forward. In other words, self-awareness is the way to know what is happening in your body, brain, and environment. The environmental part is the relationship we have with others. So, we are also sensing what our impact is on others.

Apart from the emotions, self-awareness is also the ability knowing our strengths and limitations. This ability gives us the chance to be aligned with the reality, with the “now.”

We are always challenged to align our self-image with the feedback how others see and perceive us.

Let me share with you an example: I see myself as a good listener. I do my very best to listen carefully. Whenever I get involved in a discussion, my friends tell me that I interrupt the other person to bring my arguments. Until my friends share it with me, I believed that I am a good listener. Now here is a gap between what I think and how others perceive and see my actions.

Being clear on the reality gives a leader clarity on her values. The leader can be very candid and authentic about her visions. Authenticity provides the leader with the power to be more decisive and take action.

Impact on team performance

Research shows that 92% of the leaders with a high level of self-awareness had teams with high energy and high performance. In sharp contrast, leaders low in self-awareness created negative climates 78% of the time[1]. Effective leaders create a positive emotional climate that encourages motivation and extra effort, and they’re the ones with high level of self-awareness.

Self-awareness is our engine for continuous transformation

Every moment in life challenges us, so we have to work on our self-awareness continuously. We cannot say “now that’s enough, I have developed my self-awareness.”

Developing own self-awareness is a life-long process, which widens our perspective 360°. This holistic view makes self-awareness as the foundation for all kind of leadership mindset or styles we chose to act.

What are the driving values of self-awareness and which questions to ask to nurture it?

Autonomy: How often do you make use of your independence? Why and how important is freedom for you? To what extent are you self-determined?

Courage: How is your strength in withstanding danger, fear, and difficulty?

Reliability: Are you reliable in your interactions, relationships with others? How do you show it in day-to-day actions?

Adaptability: How fast can you adapt to new circumstances, without compromising your values?

Listening: Are you paying enough attention to listening and learning more?

Teamwork: Are you cooperating and at the same time showing the right dose of assertiveness to share your ideas for the sake of team goal?

Curiosity: How do you nurture your interest to become more creative? Are your exploring new territories? Are you observing yourself about what is happening to you?

Personal growth: How do you take care of your growth both in increasing technical savvy via learning new tools and techniques and mental development of better being connected with your inner and outer world?

Responsibility: Are you creating options for your reality and choosing one of the alternatives? Do you own the results of your actions without blaming, justifying, being of shame and feeling trapped in obligation?

All of this has an impact on paving your way towards self-expression, connecting and serving.

Where do you see yourself?

[1] EI at the Heart of Performance: The Implications of Our 2010 ESCI Research by Hay Group, available at: http://atrium.haygroup.com/downloads/marketingps/nz/ESCI_research_findings_2010.pdf &

Goleman, Daniel. Emotional Self-Awareness: A Primer (Building Blocks of Emotional Intelligence: The 12 Crucial Competencies) (Kindle-Positionen371-372). More Than Sound, LLC. Kindle-Version.

Acting from the place of freedom can unleash your potential. To trigger it you need to express your truth. Your truth is not your interpretation of your sensations. It is more facing your feelings as they are.

Seeing what is happening to you frees you up. In that case, your doubt, concern, and anxiety turn into power to choose and act.

This moment is the “creative now” where people see your truth and follow you as a leader.