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Are you clear about your expectations for your employees? Do you “declare your intent” to those you lead? What’s the difference between a good leader and a great one?

In Trust and Inspire, Stephen M. R. Covey asserts that the shift from industrial-era to modern-day work necessitates a leadership evolution. He explains how and why you should step up from traditional to inspirational leadership to succeed in all areas of your organization and life.

Read on for a few Trust and Inspire quotes to get a sense of the book.

Trust and Inspire Quotes

In today’s world, workers must collaborate effectively and provide quality service and knowledge for organizations to thrive—as a leader, this requires you to maximize employees’ productivity and creativity. However, you can’t achieve this with traditional leadership styles that rely on carrot-and-stick methods of motivation. Instead, you must evolve as a leader—you must inspire employees to maximize their work quality by trusting and encouraging them to achieve their full potential. In Trust and Inspire, Stephen M. R. Covey explains how and why you should step up from traditional to inspirational leadership to succeed in all areas of your organization and life.

We’ve provided a few Trust and Inspire quotes along with some explanation and context to help you understand the book’s ideas.

“A counterfeit manifestation of clarifying expectations is to create ‘smoke and mirrors’—to give lip service to clarifying expectations but to fail to pin down specifics like results, deadlines, or dollars that facilitate meaningful accountability.”

Covey explains that employees can only meet your expectations if you’re specific about what they are. Otherwise, misunderstandings are likely to arise and both parties may end up disappointed.

To ensure a positive outcome, first, nail down specifics—what does “success” or completion of the task look like? What are the deadlines? What resources are available?

Then, discuss these expectations with employees and come to a mutual agreement. Genuinely consider any amendments employees may want to make. For example, if you want a task to be completed by Monday but the employee thinks Wednesday is better, accept the request as long as there are no major issues with it. Mutually agreeing on expectations provides employees with a sense of meaning behind their work—they’re doing things because those things are important and make sense, not just because you said so.

“Authenticity is critical to building a relationship of trust. And that means you need to ‘declare your intent.’ Declaring your intent involves opening your agenda, giving the why behind the what. It is a great practice in using vulnerability to operationalize authenticity.”

One requirement of becoming an upstanding leader is to be authentic. Being authentic means aligning your actions with your values and words and expressing your genuine thoughts and feelings. Essentially, be your true self without putting on a mask for anyone. Covey explains that many people struggle to do so out of fear that they’ll be judged. To overcome this, embrace your vulnerability—accept that you’re not perfect and be OK with sharing your imperfections, despite what others might think.

“A good leader inspires people to have confidence in the leader; a great leader inspires people to have confidence in themselves.”

Here, Covey quotes Eleanor Roosevelt. He explains that one commitment inspirational leaders uphold is to extend faith to people. Extending faith means not only seeing that everyone has a higher potential, but also believing that they have the ability to achieve it. Extending faith also requires leaders to give employees autonomy rather than micromanaging.

Covey says that extending faith to employees is important because it allows them to reach their full potential and maximize performance. Expressing your belief in someone’s abilities to perform at a high level, and granting them autonomy to do so on their own, inspires them to meet—and even exceed—your expectations. Further, having confidence in others is contagious: Your choice to believe in others will gradually ripple outward, increasing collaboration and strengthening relationships throughout the organization.

Trust and Inspire Quotes by Stephen M. R. Covey (+ Context)

Elizabeth Whitworth

Elizabeth has a lifelong love of books. She devours nonfiction, especially in the areas of history, theology, and philosophy. A switch to audiobooks has kindled her enjoyment of well-narrated fiction, particularly Victorian and early 20th-century works. She appreciates idea-driven books—and a classic murder mystery now and then. Elizabeth has a blog and is writing a book about the beginning and the end of suffering.

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