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The 10 Laws of Trust from the Chairman of Jet Blue

(This post is based on my conversation with Joel Peterson.)

Every leader learns that success requires trusting others.

“I believe in trusting. Trust begets trust.” Mahatma Gandhi

A trust-lesson from Joel Peterson, the Chairman of Jet Blue and author of, “The 10 Laws of Trust.”

The 10 Laws of Trust

#1. Start with personal integrity.

Integrity tip: Be intentional about “fixing yourself.” Solicit and receive feedback.

#2. Invest in respect.

SHRM reports that respectful treatment of all employees at all levels is the most important factor contributing to employee job satisfaction.

Respect tips:

  1. Steer clear of trash-talking even the competition.
  2. Give feedback.
  3. Listen to concerns.
  4. Expect people to bring their best.

#3. Empower others.

Empowerment tip: If you can, get rid of the policy manuals. Eliminate micromanagement. Confidence in employees yields confidence in themselves.

#4. Measure what you want to achieve.

Accountability tip: Define what winning looks like. Without clarity about outcomes, nobody can be accountable.

#5. Create a common dream.

Common dream tip: Collect and celebrate “hero stories.” Honor team members. Tell stories about how they fulfill mission.

#6. Keep everyone informed.

Communication tip: Own the bad news. If people are told only the good, no matter how triumphantly, they will be consumed by mistrust.

#7. Embrace respectful conflict.

Conflict tip: Think like a mediator, not a judge. Strong leaders hold back as much as they speak up.  When others participate, trust grows.

#8. Show humility.

Humility tips:

  1. Be an eager learner, not an arrogant knower.
  2. Welcome personal change.
  3. Receive correction.
  4. Say, “I don’t really know the answer to that.”

More tips:

#9. Strive for win-win negotiations.

Win-win tips:

  1. Aim to create value for all parties.
  2. Find power in inquiry. Listen more than talking.

#10. Fix breaches immediately.

  1. Expect that you’ll have to keep running toward fires.
  2. When tension surfaces in your organization, take a break.  Pick things up later.

Lack of trust makes simple work slow and easy work difficult.

Which of the 10 Laws of Trust is most relevant to you today?

How might leaders build trust?

Bonus material:

The 10 Laws of Trust (Book)

10 Laws of Trust Diagnostic (Name and email required)

Speed of Trust (Covey)


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