On April 10, 2010 Poland’s president Lech Kaczynski and 96 other top Polish officials were killed in a plane crash in Smolensk in western Russia. They were coming to commemorate the massacre of Polish military officers by the Russians in World War II. The massacre had been denied for decades byofficials in the former Soviet Union. The crash occurred in the thick fog, and despite strong warnings from the air traffic controllers not to land. Cockpit recordings confirmed that Gen. Andrzej Blasik, was in the cockpit with the door open. Although we may never know, there was speculation according to the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times,* that the Polish president ordered the pilot to land because he did not trust the Russians who had told the pilot to divert the landing to another airport.
In another case closer to home, the UAW elected Bob King as president to replace Ron Gettelfinger in June, 2010. According to the Detroit Free Press, one of the key issues facing King is to reduce 2,000 page labor agreements, which limit flexibility and retard productivity by spelling out every possible issue in great detail, and replacing them with briefer, more broad-based agreements. Tom Walsh, writes, “Trust and shared goals must replace adversarial relations. No other viable options remain.”
The common denominator in these two cases is that the lack of trust often leads to undesirable consequences. So what do we mean by trust? One definition from The Academy of Management Journal is, “A psychological state of individuals involving confident, positive expectations about the actions of another.”* Continue reading Improving Trust for Leaders