Trust – proven or given?

Over all the years of working with different people from various nations, I am enriched and stunned by the great people I have got to know and work with.

As a young boy, growing up in Norway in the 1980s where society was pretty monotone, things that were different were seen as either great or dangerous. The USA was most of the time great, and the USSR was most of the time extremely dangerous. Just so you know what my formative years were like..

At the age of 12 I had been a part of the scouting movement for some years and then, receiving an upgrade, I became responsible for the finances for our small group of boys. We had different groups and my group was called “Bears”. The girls next to us were “Falcons”. Whoever said that a bear could not be interested in a falcon…

As the one responsible for the finances, I enjoyed working with the leader of the group and his second in command, both of whom were good friends of mine and we made a fine group together. My responsibility was to bring in money, and I did. We had money in the bank, and we were proud scouters. We even printed t-shirts with logos and sold them. That was a hit!

What was the secret of our small success? One small word, but still practiced so differently all over the globe. What is it that some think is freely given, while others think needs to be proven or deserved.


We were given trust from out not-so-much-older leaders. Trust even though we might mess everything up or be a runaway success. We failed and rose up again, but trust was there!
We traveled on weekend hikes every month, we stayed in tents, cabins, outside, all over the place, we where given trust and we were young boys.

Looking back I am grateful to my parents letting me go, to my leaders giving us room for all the things we did. I even remember the t-short story that could have been a great failure, because I was the one that got the price from our local store for making them. The manager gave me a good price since it was for a good cause. But what I did not understand at the time was that the price was without sales tax, in Norway being around 20% at the time. Well, to make a long story short, I the man of finances made a mistake in calculation, but my father who was a good friend with the manager helped out and, guess what? We got an even better deal on our t-shirts..

Trust, from my point of view, is to be given to all people until the opposite is proven. I trust my new staff coming in, I trust the people we work with, I trust my leaders.
This is a choice we make and we will occasionally be disappointed in people. I have learned that, but that can not stop me from giving
trust. If I don’t trust people, how can I release them to go and do great things?

I have given room to homeless people, taken into my home people that were too thirsty for the wrong drink, we have worked with people with a drug background.
Well, I remember one of our staff. He is a person I have great respect for today, but when he came on I told him that I give him 99% trust, “but there is 1% that is alert because of your history, and if that animal raises up again I can not trust you”.

One person that I really believed in and showed trust to, went on and stole from our community. People were devastated, money was gone, and some other items. That I can live with, though it is hard. The fact that trust was so clearly broken was hard for me because I, along with many others, had so freely given trust. We did what we could to restore the person, but that did not really take place by their choosing. It’s one of those stories you hope and pray would go differently, though people have choices to make, and I can not make them for them.
I have been lied to, stolen from and hurt, still I can not stop trusting people.
Trust has to be given until the opposite is proven, this has become a very important value to me.

22062951646_873d29d4f1_mIf you want to be a leader that release people and leaders, make sure you have your trust level right and willingness to trust people that see things differently than you. If you start releasing and trust people around you, then you give them the opportunity to become greater and better and flourishing in what they are called to do.

Can we work on our trust level? I think the hardest job is to deal with ourselves, when we make conscious choices to trust people we also step down from the pedestal of leadership and the more we trust others the less superior we become. Yes, that can be hard, but what is it all about, if leadership isn’t all about releasing resources and believing in people. In my business it is.

Choose trust, and you have chosen to be a releaser of leadership!

Till next time, I trust that you are making a change in the world!

Rune Sæther

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