Join Tom Brown, Executive Director, Semiconductor Business Unit at Brewer Science, as he shares inspirational leadership advice and professional growth stories.
At Brewer Science, we have developed a Competency Framework to aid in the growth of our employees in their work, but more importantly in their life. We’ve identified four main competency areas:
- Organizational Renewal
- Technical Skills
I was asked to lead a discussion on one part of the Mindset competency, specifically on the topic of Trust & Integrity. As I was preparing for the discussion, I looked back at some of my previous posts to see if there was anything in there that I could reference.
Referring back to the fundamental lessons to building a personal connection, the three core areas I identified were trust, transparency, and vulnerability. Being vulnerable and open has been an approach I have used to build connections with people over the years. By opening up about my own failures and fears, I create a reasonable amount of trust with others. Additionally, it provides a safe environment for them to share as well.
As I was thinking about specific examples that I could share with others, one event jumped out to me. I was reminded of an impactful conversation I had with an executive during my early years in management. One day he pulled me aside after a management team meeting and offered me some advice. “Tom, I appreciate how open you are with the team and show vulnerability in our meetings. But you need to be aware that not everyone sees the value. There are people who will see that as a sign of weakness and will exploit that weakness.” I considered what he said. It wasn’t just a warning about a potential issue in the future, but I believe he was making me aware, indirectly, that he had already been approached by others who were looking to pile on and point out my flaws for their own gain.
As a young manager, this was a big deal to have your executive open up to you and share his wisdom and experience while also pointing out that I am facing some challenges. I replied, “I understand, but that is where you come in as the leader because I trust that you have my back.”
I share this because it is a great example of how trust & integrity can have an impact on those around you. I was willing to put myself out there because I trusted my leader. I felt he would show integrity when the time came to provide support to me. It also served as a reminder to him that I, as a member of his team, need him to be a leader – to be a person of Trust & Integrity. I again showed vulnerability by understanding that not everyone would appreciate my approach, but I was still willing to do what I felt was right.
I like to think of that moment as a pivotal moment in both of our lives. I was a newer mid-level manager around 30 years of age. He was in his later years and had been in leadership positions almost as long as I had been alive. He empowered me to be a manager and a leader of impact. I empowered him to be the leader I needed. I expected excellence from myself but was still willing to be vulnerable and share when I didn’t meet my own expectations. I also expected excellence from him as well.
Leading and living with trust & integrity isn’t easy. I have stumbled and fallen more than I like to admit. Throughout my life it has been a ‘two steps forward, one step back’ process as Trust & Integrity is something you build, not something that simply exists. There are always situations you regret and wish you could take back. There are times you react before taking the time to understand. But trust isn’t a solo act; it’s built in relationships and through practice. Integrity, as an individual is highly important, but it’s the integrity you build within your team, founded on trust, that creates a strong and enduring structure that will last beyond today.
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