Jack Welch said: “Leadership, very simply, is about two things:
1. Truth and trust.
2. Ceaselessly seeking the former, relentlessly building the latter.”
To be an effective leader, you have to focus on people and establish their trust. At the Jack Welch Management Institute, we teach leadership principles, and our MBA program starts with a foundational course named “Leadership in the 21st Century.”
While the Jack Welch MBA boasts many executives who want to hone their skills, it doesn’t take managing a big group of direct reports to be deemed a leader. There are many forms of leadership, and with that many opportunities to lead.
No matter the type of leader you are, building trust is essential.
JWMI Alumni Share How to Build Trust and Grow as a Leader
Franco Cristiano, 2019 JWMI Alumnus
“Leadership is about making others believe in themselves that they are very capable of achieving their life goals.”
Mr. Cristiano, President of Marina del Rey Foods and Frankie’s Organics, employed the techniques that he learned at JWMI to manage a senior employee who was not performing well. Although it was difficult, Franco had a frank conversation with the employee about his job performance- he gave him specific examples of where he needed to improve and ideas to get there. Ultimately, the employee improved his performance.
Erin M. Loew, 2018 JWMI Alumna
“JWMI taught me the importance of thought leadership, emotional intelligence (EI), candid feedback, and building a successful team based on trust.”
But candor doesn’t come naturally to everyone and can be uncomfortable for many, like Ms. Loew, Director, NA Supply Chain at Solenis. She realized her team of eight also was uncomfortable with this practice, so she decided to make it part of her team culture. She held several team building events where the team role-played, giving candid feedback. It takes practice, but the results are worth it.
Sugato Sarkar, 2019 JWMI Alumnus
“To me, leadership is about showing candor, being transparent, having sharp emotional intelligence, and making others successful.”
Mr. Sarkar put Jack’s lessons into play in his role as Director of Digital Initiatives at The Hartford. He improved his team’s performance by practicing candor and letting team members know exactly where they stood. “From day one, I was able to apply my learnings, and in no time, I gained credibility and respect within the senior leadership circle. My candor, empathy, and transparency helped build trusted relationships with my team, senior leaders, and business partners.”
Danielle Kindig, 2020 JWMI Alumna
“You know you have succeeded as a leader when you go into a battle, and your ‘soldiers’ have your back. This form of trust is achieved through authenticity and candor.”
Ms. Kindig, Sales/Business Development Manager at Hall & Associates, shared that she recognized her team did not understand expectations and where they stood performance-wise. Using the skills she learned at JWMI, she created a process to address this gap with the ultimate goal of motivating and inspiring people to deliver their best results. With transparency top of mind, she implemented dashboards with performance metrics and other vital stats. “It was amazing how something as small as that change got people off their duffs!” said Ms. Kindig.
Jack taught us that when leaders are forthright in sharing information (both good and bad) and give credit where credit is due, they create trust. And trust is essential to empowering others.