Linus Torvalds is the developer of the open-source code Linux kernel. He is an interesting individual, having been named in 1999 as one of the world’s top 100 innovators and a self-professed failure as a leader. To this latter point he is quoted as calling himself a “really unpleasant person” who would like to “curse less and encourage people to grow rather than calling them idiots. I tried, but it is just not in me.” All that said, how does a leader engender trust? Please consider some ideas on the topic that I discovered in an Inc. Magazine article a few years back.
· Believe the unbelievable – stretch out your company’s goals and bring people along for the fantastic journey.
· Protect others and take the hit when a bus appears.
· Embrace a larger purpose – help people advance their careers and give them the opportunity to succeed through empowerment and support.
· See opportunity in uncertainty and back others through ambiguity.
· Even though you have been there and done that……keep doing that.
· Believe in others even when they do not believe in themselves.
· Lead by permission, not authority.
Born exactly 51 years ago this month, Torvalds might not know how to develop trust with people – but he is quite accurate about its importance in leadership.