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Book Review - Trust & Inspire

TRUST AND INSPIRE: How Truly Great Leaders Unleash Greatness in Others. Stephen M.R. Covey, David Kasperson , McKinlee Covey, and Gary T. Judd. (2022, Kindle Edition)

In Trust & Inspire, Stephen M. R. Covey—bestselling author of The Speed of Trust--- argues that it’s time for a new style of leadership that is relevant for the times. Convey contends that while the world has changed, the prevailing norm for a majority of leaders in most organizations today remains an “Enlightened” (i.e., more sophisticated, kinder, gentler) form of Command & Control, which is based on a flawed paradigm that no longer works. What is needed, he maintains, is a paradigm shift to a Trust & Inspire form of leadership. Yet, the single biggest barrier to becoming a Trust & Inspire leader is that we think we already are one! Herein lies the genesis of this book…to create a playbook on how to make the change.

Trust & Inspire is written by Covey in collaboration with two colleagues from FranklinCovey’s Global Trust Practice (David Kasperson and Gary T. Judd) and his daughter (McKinlee Covey). The book is organized in four parts. In the Introduction and Part One, Covey presents his thesis and substantiating research and arguments that the predominant style of leadership continues to be based on a flawed and irrelevant paradigm. He does so by comparing today’s “Enlightened” form of Command & Control version of leadership with that of Trust & Inspire leadership. A summary list of new contrasts that the author has compiled over the years is included at the end of each chapter, and a comprehensive list is also provided in the Appendix.

In Part Two, Covey challenges readers to take a hard look at their own paradigms about people and leadership and the actions that follow. Next, he presents practical advice on how to make the life-changing switch to Trust & Inspire. In doing so, he outlines the overarching framework for this book, which consists of 3 “Stewardships” of a Trust & Inspire Leader that work together:

  1. Modeling—Who You Are: refers to leaders’ credibility and moral authority and to the behavioral virtues needed today

  2. Trusting—How You Lead: is the way leaders extend trust to and grow the people around them

  3. Inspiring—Connect to Why: is how leaders connect with people and connect to purpose in inspiring others

Part Three of the book takes a deep dive into the five common barriers (or mindsets) that underlie why people remain trapped in their old leadership style and explores solutions for each. The barriers include:

  1. This won’t work here

  2. Fear—or, “But What If…”,

  3. I Don’t Know How to Let Go

  4. I’m the Smartest One in the Room

  5. This is Who I Am

The final section, Part Four, explores the application and extraordinary impact a Trust & Inspire person can have on others in some of the everyday aspects of life, such as in parenting, teaching, coaching, among others… as people assume leadership roles in all walks of life.

In reviewing the book, the following points particularly resonated:

  • You may be asking yourself, Don’t we already know this? Yes, we do… But here’s the most interesting thing of all: for all the knowledge we’ve gained about this intellectually, Enlightened Command & Control remains the dominant leadership style for a majority of leaders in most organizations today. It’s still the prevailing norm by a large margin.

  • Inspiring others is among the most important of our life’s works.

  • If you’re still trying to win by containing people instead of unleashing their potential, by motivating others instead of inspiring them, by focusing on competing and self-interest above caring and service—you’re playing tennis with a golf club.

  • Regardless of your situation, you can extend trust and you can inspire. As you come to see leadership as a stewardship and people as whole people, you can become the kind of leader that will succeed best in today’s world.

Trust & Inspire is an inspirational read and valuable aid in self-reflection for anyone aspiring to achieve a new way to lead and live life. The book builds on Covey’s previous research and written works and is packed with relatable stories, insights and ideas of relevance to today’s real-world context.

Image source: Amazon


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