Dr. Reeves identifies trust as the second critical element for school leadership. According to Dr. Reeves, leaders can be forgiven for many mistakes as long as their colleagues trust them. A breach of trust can devastate the leader’s ability to effectively collaborate and work with colleagues. Leaders must follow a higher standard in terms of both personal and professional relationships. The bottom line – do what you say you will do. According to Dr. Reeves, this element requires vulnerability. The leader who is able to successfully build trust quickly and humbly acknowledges mistakes and ask for forgiveness.
Dr. Reeves points to three critical practices that builds personal trust. First, do what you say you will do. Second, acknowledge mistakes quickly and openly. Third, confront conflicts between personal values and the professional environment. This third critical practices requires that school leaders to confront those individuals who behavior conflicts with the accepted values and norms of the school culture. Avoiding problematic situations can lead to cynicism and lack of faith in a school leader.
Building professional trust is also critical in school leadership. Dr. Reeves points out that professional trust is a two-way street between school leaders and teachers. School leaders must assume that teachers to do a good job and teachers must assume school leaders what to be effective. He points out that trust does not require perfection and that our imperfections build authenticity. Ultimately, mistakes become opportunities for learning. According to Dr. Reeves, “Part of earning trust is not only taking personal responsibility for the performance of the organization but also being sufficiently vulnerable to take the inevitable criticism.” When leaders acknowledge their mistakes, it is an act of courage that sets the tone. Failures will always happen. Trust is built when failures are acknowledged and there is learning from them.