Respect & Trust

It’s been a few months since I’ve written on leadership, yet during the last eight weeks or so I have witnessed highs and lows of leadership around me. The highs have come almost daily at in my new career outside of the Air Force where I coordinate safety and emergency preparedness, training, incident command exercises, and so much more for an amazing community college in Northern California. It’s been almost 6 months in this new role and I can say the trust and respect vested in me by my leaders and those I’m entrusted to teach and keep safe is a blessing. The trust and respect was earned yes – it was also given to me based upon my job qualifications, my knowledge, skills, commitment; but also because I give respect to everyone I work with and teach.

Why? Because I truly believe that’s the key to building trust on a team, in an organization and of course in a personal relationship. It’s all about giving respect to others. It’s all about behavior! Does your behavior in life reflect a person who builds trust and respect? Are you respectful of others, yourself and your personal development? Do you honestly look within you to make changes to your habits that hinder you from giving and receiving trust and respect?

Throughout my Air Force career, trust and respect rated high on the list of what followers wanted to receive from their leaders. Even into my retirement, friends and also former troops of mine still reach out to me throughout the week for advice on trust and respect. Thank goodness I have over twenty years of examples of the good, bad, and the ugly when it comes to work and personal relationships where trust and respect was either high or low.

Every person I’ve ever taught or led wanted their leaders to respect them as people first, trust their job knowledge, trust their commitment to the mission and so much more. So why would this be any different in a personal relationship? It’s not, every troop, friend and stranger I’ve listened too the past twenty years (myself included) rated trust and respect up there with honesty when it came to all relationships.

I am going to break from leadership briefly and focus on the other aspect of this blog (love), I’d like you to close your eyes and recall the last time someone trusted and respected you enough to reveal something they struggled with, a fear, overcoming an addiction, personal struggle, mental illness, loss, grief, or anything else they were battling?

What did that feel like? For me it feels a lot like love. The kind of love I want to receive from a best friend and partner one day.

The photo above was taken by a man I care deeply for. A man who true to his words on the phone in May, shared openly and honestly with me when we reconnected in person in June. I wasn’t scared one bit about his journey, his truths and I respect him immensely for having the courage to share with me, to trust me. He was the second man in my personal life to share his raw truths without showing fear. I’m twelve short weeks he also allowed me to share some of my truths with him after building trust. Vulnerability is the key to trust not only in a friendship or personal relationship – It was the #1 thing which brought me great success as a leadership instructor, supervisor and leader in the Air Force. Sharing growth moments, struggles and triumphs without fear – the human side of existing was and still is what those I led seek. It’s also what they give onto others during their career and personal struggles – further nurturing trust and respect.

When it comes to where I am at now with the man who opened my heart to love, I accept that I may have simply been a friend he needed at a pivotal personal growth moment in his life – or maybe more? I presently do not know where I stand with him – and that’s okay, I have patience. I miss him a ton, but he’s on an important journey for himself.

Why am I okay with the unknown with this brave and strong man?

Because I have nothing but respect for him and a whole lot of love (compassion, understanding and faith – faith that he’s honestly seeking to heal himself for himself & his beautiful kids).

He is worthy of respect, trust and real love as all people are. We are all worthy and deserving of this both personally and professionally!

My dad, taught me a lasting lesson in love, trust and respect in his dying days everyone should practice daily while they are alive.

give trust to get trust

give respect to get respect

love and allow love without fear

The best gift I earned from over twenty years in the Air Force, was the love that continues to come my way from my Airmen and tribe. I am their trusted and respected person always even in retirement! They remind me that I am worth respecting and deserve a man (a best friend) who will walk this journey of life with me in mutual trust, respect and love!

Love & Leadership,

Erin

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