3 Easy Ways To Tell Who You Can Trust In Leadership

So who can you trust…I mean really trust in leadership?

You’ve trusted people you thought you could trust, only to be disappointed or get burned (sometimes badly).

You’ve decided not to trust someone, only to realize you were wrong and he or she was completely trustworthy, and you missed a great opportunity to grow your team.

The stakes are high.

Put an untrustworthy person in a position of influence, and they can do a lot of damage fast.

Misjudge trust, and you will never have the team you need to lead you into a better future.

So…is it possible to tell in advance who you can trust?

I believe you can.



3 Easy Ways to Tell Who You Can Trust In Leadership

So I imagine you’re thinking…seriously, there are easy ways to know how to trust someone?

Well, yes and no.

It’s taken me almost two decades in leadership to figure out a pattern of trust that’s accurate most of the time.

But once you learn the patterns, it’s easy to use.

Is it absolutely foolproof? No, but it’s proven to be a very reliable guide.

So with that said, here are 3 easy ways to tell who you can trust in leadership. I’ve framed it in the form of 3 questions:


3 Subconscious But Deadly Reasons Most Leaders Have Few Friends

You’ve heard it. Probably said it.

It’s lonely at the top.

It’s an experience many leaders have felt, including me in seasons.

Why is that?

Well, leadership can be confusing.

You go from being just one of the guys or girls to being a ‘leader’ or ‘boss.

Leadership brings with it its own set of frustrations and challenges.

You’re never exactly sure what you can say to whom.

I have wrestled with friendship in leadership, but at this point feel fortunate to be surrounded by great friends locally and all over the place. Geography isn’t a barrier anymore.

Today I want to share 3 reasons why a lot of leaders struggle to make and keep friends (and why I did), as well as some action you can take.

But first I want to share the real reason…the reason underneath all the reasons.

You might not like it, but I think it’s true.



The Real Reason You Don’t Have Many Friends As a Leader Is…

You made a decision not to have friends.

That’s right. It’s as simple as that.

Somewhere along the line you decided not to have friends.

You might have done this sub-consciously. Or it might have been a decision.

I remember the first time in my life I decided to stop making friends.

I lived in the same community from when I was 3 until I was 8. I made some great friends. Best friends.

When my parents told me we were moving, I wanted to pull the for sale sign off our front lawn.

We moved 30 minutes away and I made some new friends and a new best friend, Andrew.

18 months after that move, we moved again—this time 5 hours away.

I remember going to my new school and thinking “I’m not going to make any close friends. We’ll just move again.”

Big mistake.

Although we did switch houses, I stayed with those same kids all through elementary school and high school. But throughout those years, I never threw myself as deeply into those relationships as I could have.

I made a choice.

And early into ministry, I found myself making a similar choice.

Leadership can make leaders lonely.

And I think ministry in even more inherently confusing because its such a strange combination of faith, like and work (something I wrote about here).

So glad that this time, I caught it.

The real reason most leaders don’t have many friends is because they decided to stop making them.


So Why Is That? The 3 Main Reasons Leaders Decide to Stop Making Friends

Maybe you never said “I’m not going to make any friends” out loud…or even to yourself. But these reasons will push you to make that decision even subconsciously.

But here’s the cool part: once you’re aware of why you do something, you’re freed to stop doing it.

Here are the 3 main reasons I think many of us in leadership stop making friends, even if we’ve never consciously realized we did this:


7 Things NOT To Say When You’re Leading Change in Your Church

Almost every leader I’ve ever met wants to change something.

If I asked you right now what you’d love to change in your church or organization, you’d probably be able to offer an answer within seconds.

Some of you want to change everything.

The truth about change is that it’s more mysterious than it needs to be.

Many people aren’t sure how the dynamics of change work, and have seen so many leaders get skewered trying to lead change that they’re afraid to try.

Other leaders—unaware of the dynamics of change—storm change so aggressively that they look over their shoulder to discover than nobody’s following.

You can learn how to lead change well. 

Leading change requires a skill set. And the good news is that skill set can be learned.

That’s why I wrote this book outlining a five step strategy on how to lead change when you’re facing opposition. (You can find the various versions of the book here.)

Today…a question all of us face when leading change. What do I actually say when I’m leading change?

Say the right thing…and change can happen easily.

Say the wrong thing…and plans can unravel in front of you.

Learning the Hard Way

In almost two decades of local church leadership, one of the constants in my leadership has been change.

We’re always navigating it.

The mission stays the same, but the methods, by necessity, have to change to remain effective.

Over these two decades, we’ve changed everything from the style of music, to the dress code, to buildings and locations, to church governance, to staffing structure, to how we engage volunteers and much more. There is almost nothing we haven’t changed, except the message and the Gospel.

I have answered thousands of questions about change in group settings and one on one meetings.

And I’ve said (or thought) almost everything below…both good and bad. I’ve learned the hard way. But I’ve tried to learn quickly.

Change is so critical…as a leader you simply have to learn the skill of navigation it.

And some language is simply more helpful in leading change than other language.


7 Things NOT to Say When You’re Leading Change in Your Church

So…if you want to ruin the chance of change happening in your church, just say these 7 things.

And if you want to help the chances of change happening at your church, try something a little closer to the things I suggest below:


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