Trust – Premium Grade Oil

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Written by Alan Vink

Categories: Pastors Blog

Tags: Leadership Development

Comments: 0

Dear Pastors

I was asked recently, “What do you regard as the most important quality a leader should possess”? Instinctively I wanted to say, competence. In other words proven experience and skills commensurate with the role/position that the leader occupies. But then I remembered. No, the answer is Trust and Trustworthiness. Trust is the currency all leaders trade in whether they realise it or not. You can be the most competent leader/manager on the planet but if you are not a trust worthy person then you will struggle to execute your role. No where is this more true than in the leading and managing of a local church. Everything we do is based on trust. To that end trust is like the best oil you can buy and put into the leadership machine so to speak. You can go ahead and put cheap oil in and it will keep things going OK but put premium grade oil in, day in and day out and your leadership will purr. People will love working with you and for you.

So let’s analyse this for a few moments. What actually is Trust? It’s an intangible asset a leader has (or doesn’t have). You can’t see it but my goodness you can feel it when it is present and conversely you can feel it when it is not present.

Francis Frei and Anne Morriss1 have provided us with a very insightful outline in a Harvard Business Review article entitled, "Begin with Trust”.

The Core Drivers of Trust(worthiness)

“So how do you build up stores of this foundational leadership capital? In our experience, trust has three core drivers: authenticity, logic, and empathy. People tend to trust you when they believe they are interacting with the real you (authenticity), when they have faith in your judgment and competence (logic), and when they feel that you care about them (empathy). When trust is lost, it can almost always be traced back to a breakdown in one of these three drivers”. Frei and Morriss.

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Authenticity. Are you bringing the ‘real’ you to the table? Do you naturally share what you know, what you think and what you feel? A quick test is simply this, how is your professional persona from the one that shows up around family and friends? Are you the same guy or girl at home, at work, at church and at play?

Empathy. How easily do you ‘connect’ to those you work with…..really connect? Can you naturally relate to their situation and their world. Do you care…..really care. Are you an ‘other centred’ person.

Logic. Is your decision making sound? Can you demonstrate a strong and rigorous ability with complex ideas and a well-considered argument for the big decisions you have to make? And for the small decisions as well.

For us who are Christian leaders this is an attribute AND a set of skills that are absolutely indispensable.



1 Frances X. Frei is the UPS Foundation Professor of Service Management at Harvard Business School and is a co-author of Unleashed: The Unapologetic Leader’s Guide to Empowering Everyone Around You (Harvard Business Review Press, 2020).

Anne Morriss ( is an entrepreneur and the executive founder of the Leadership Consortium. She is also the co-author of Unleashed: The Unapologetic Leader’s Guide to Empowering Everyone Around You (Harvard Business Review Press, 2020).

Alan Vink is currently the Executive Director for LeadershipWorx. Prior to this role he has been the Executive Director of Willow Creek Association NZ (WillowNZ), a Baptist pastor (23 years), Bible College teacher, and church consultant.

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