It’s All About Trust

Once upon a time I was entrusted with thousands of dollars from two soccer referee associations. There were few checks and balances. That always bothered me. This is not a confession. I was careful with the money. But one of my colleagues many years ago made off with tens of thousands of dollars before it came to light.

There’s a lot of cash floating around in our economy. Much of it flows to organizations that operate with volunteer leadership. The New York Times recently ran an article about people who stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from their youth sports clubs. It can happen in churches, service clubs, school support organizations.

These are trusted people. But they got into personal financial trouble. Often due to gambling. Sometime personal circumstances–divorce, lost job, medical bills.

Leadership begins with trust. But trust must be earned again every day.

Every story of leadership and leadership theory I read has trust as the foundation–whether explicitly stated or not.

It goes deeper. I’ve talked with many people in the aftermath of affairs. Many of those don’t realize the damage done to their trustworthiness. See, it’s not just money, but when you are trusted in a relationship, too.

How would you like to have a job like a policeman where you have trouble trusting anyone? With all the guns carried openly, how are they to know if they can trust that the gun won’t be turned on them? Or us, when we see the guns around?

You’d like to trust everyone. Many of us grew up in small towns where trust was the cement that held the society together.

I’d hate to live life as a cynic, distrusting everyone. On the other hand, if I’m in an organization, I would want to see trust with oversight. Just to be responsible.

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