Trust Comes On a Bicycle and Leaves On a Ferrari

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PODCAST PEOPLE: A Summary from the Real Leaders Podcast

“We used to have a saying when I was at Shell: Trust comes to you on a bicycle, trust leaves you on a Ferrari. It’s so difficult to build trust but it’s so easy to lose trust. And trust is earned, really. You have to earn it, you can’t demand it.” 

Babs Omotowa is an expert in strategy, commercial, technical, operations, governance, energy transition, stakeholder, change, and supply chain management, built though an expansive career at Shell International. He shares a message of resilience in his book, From Storeroom to Boardroom: How Integrity and Courage Shape Global Business. 

The following is a summary of Episode 188 of the Real Leaders Podcast, a conversation with Chairman of Montserrado, Babs Omotowa. Watch or listen to the full conversation below.

Babs outlines the things required of a leader in order to earn the trust of their organization. He declares that a trustworthy leader must be consistent, authentic, and able to follow-through. People need to hear exactly what you plan to do, and be confident that you will do exactly what you say. Your vision also needs to be beyond self-actualization. 

Babs also emphasizes that in order to maintain trust, a leader needs to admit and be transparent about failure. If you don’t acknowledge your mistakes, your staff will never trust you. 

“A leader must make clear that you are indeed a human being as well. Sometimes leaders try to show a persona that sometimes can feel larger than life. But people connect to you more when you make mistakes as well, when you admit your mistakes, and you learn, you move forward and you correct those mistakes. It’s very important that people see you as that, that you are human.”

Listen to Episode 188 on Spotify, Anchor, Crowdcast, and Apple Podcasts

Mature Leadership

Babs outlines that the organizations with the greatest success function under mature leadership, and his experience sees mature leaders as those who are willing to listen, who understand that they don’t have all the answers, who really understand where they want to go, but are open to consulting other resources and talents. He emphasizes that a good leader should be comfortable having individuals on their team more intelligent than they are. 

“As a leader you should not be the most intelligent in the room. You should have the good vision, the clarity on where you are going, the strength to be able to help your team overcome hurdles, but you should have in your team those who are able to have different perspectives, but even those who will have new creativity, new ideas.” 

Babs offers three traits of successful leadership: 

  1. A vision of where they need to get to, because people want to know where they are going, and they want to know that where they’re going is going to be better than where they are. 
  2. The ability to inspire the team, to motivate them to want to get on that journey, to coach them, and make sure they have the tools and techniques to get to that next level. 
  3. The ability to support and help the people, the staff, to go on that journey. Because workers will go through challenges as they go on that journey, and they will need help to overcome these challenges.

Learn how to bring any battery back to life again

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