Trust Based Leadership

Trust Based Leadership

For those who don't know, I currently run Rated 18 Shoes remotely - I'm based in Canada while production is done in Zimbabwe. As someone who is a bit a perfectionist and, because of that, prefers to have as much control as possible, running a product based business remotely has been a real test for me but has helped me really grow as a leader.

Operating my business remotely means I sometimes have had to make decisions based on pure faith in the people on the ground. For the new slides we launched this year, for example, I didn't have the opportunity to physically see or feel the materials beforehand and had to communicate my vision for the design to my team through pictures, WhatsApp messages and phone calls. I will admit I was a little skeptical about the quality of the shoes before seeing them because I know the very high standards I like to uphold, but when I received the first batch I was incredibly pleasantly surprised, and when I slid my foot into them for the first time, oh boy! It felt like my foot was melting into them.

While I had always trusted my team, and was extremely thankful that I had a team I could trust, that moment solidified that confidence in them even more so. Being able to trust and have confidence in your team is not optional when it comes to being an effective leader, and I have learnt with time that giving people room and letting go of control can be one of the best things you can do for your business. It helps employees trust you to lead them, builds loyalty in both directions and, as I learnt, can lead to incredible product quality. I think it's every employer's dream to build a team of people they can trust to drive the business forward but even when we do, it can still be hard to truly count on them to actually put that trust into action. I challenge every leader to let down your guard - you may be surprised how much you and your business will grow.
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