Ken Sande describes the importance of TRUST as the pathway to deeper relationships with those who matter to us.
A passport is an authorization to go someplace you have no inherent right to be.
In relational terms, it is the permission that people give to others to enter into their lives, to learn their secrets, to know their struggles, to offer advice and correction.
If you want others to allow you into their lives — to have real relationship with them — you must earn a relational passport. The best way to do so is to relate to others in such a way that they would answer “yes” to three key questions, each of which encompasses a variety of sub-questions that roll around in people’s minds when they are thinking of opening up to you:
- Can I trust you? Will you guard my secrets, especially the embarrassing ones? Will you lose respect for me or judge me if I allow you to see how badly I’ve blown it? Will you be gentle and patient even when I’m exasperating? Will you reject me if I don’t do everything right? Will you assume the best about me or will you jump to conclusions and blame me for all my problems? Can I trust you with the “fine china” of my life?
- Do you really care about me? Are you just politely tolerating me or simply fulfilling an obligation? Or do you really want to help me? Why? How could anyone love a person with such problems? Will you take time to listen to me? Do you care enough to push past my outer defenses and patiently help me sort out the tangled mess in my heart? …Have you been there for me?
- Can you actually help me? Are you able to deal with my issues? How are you doing with your own challenges and struggles? What kind of experience do you have? Do you have a track record of successfully solving these kinds of problems? If this problem is beyond the two of us, do you have the humility and wisdom to help me find another person who has the experience I need?
Too many leaders mistakenly think they were issued a passport with their promotion or their new title.
Too many parents think they were automatically granted a passport with their child’s birth certificate.
There are no shortcuts to a relational version of a visa or legal immigration. It must be earned.
Be a High-Trust Leader: earn your passports to the hearts and minds of those who matter; don’t let them expire through neglect.