On Trust, Flying & Catching

If you have a spare 10 minutes and want to learn an essential management skill then watch the Flying Rodleighs on YouTube.

Four men and two women fly through the air, goodness knows how many feet above the ground, twisting, turning, somersaulting, backwards and forwards. The spectacle is breathtaking.

The flyers are magnificent and draw huge, much justified applause.  One of them said “As a flyer, I must have complete trust in my catcher. The public might think that I am the great star of the trapeze, but the real star is Joe, my catcher. He has to be there for me with split second precision and grab me out of the air as I come to him in the long jump.  The secret is that the flyer does nothing and the catcher does everything. When I fly to Joe I have simply to stretch out my arms and hands and wait for him to catch me and pull me safely over the apron behind the catchbar. I do nothing.”

Let the catcher do the catching

Let the catcher do the catching

Now that is TRUST in a very big way. The relationship has been nurtured over many years. The routine practised and the timing perfected but the skill is the complete and mighty trust that the flyer has in the catcher.

To be a successful manager, to work in a great organisation, we need that level of trust every day of our working lives. It underpins all the relationships we have within the organisation and with our customers. It is reliable faultless customer service that brings people back again and again. And this stems ultimately from trust.  I would argue that if we trust the people we interact with then everything else follows. We know how the others think, what they would do in a crisis and what will happen as a matter of course. We can rely on them doing their job, being there for us and always ready to catch us.

If trust has been developed and is renewed every day then your company will be healthy and you will enjoy playing your part in it. You will be part of an effective team operating like a well-oiled machine.

But be warned, trust is like innocence, once you have lost it, it is almost impossible to re-kindle.  Without trust, your working life is unbearable: you can rely on no-one except yourself; you can delegate nothing as you have no guarantee the job will get done. There are no shared targets and too much time is wasted looking for a scapegoat. Ultimately your customers will go looking for a better supplier.

"Trust me, I'm a lion...."

“Trust me, I’m a lion….”

  • So how trustworthy are you?
  • What do your co-workers and clients say about you?
  • Are you reliable?
  • Do you perform consistently?
  • Are you there for your team when they need you?
  • Would they launch themselves into mid air confident you would catch them?

If you are trustworthy, fantastic…..you will be a great manager, able to delegate and draw the best from your team.

running_manIf you are not, …..then don’t be surprised if people doubt you, walk or even run away from you.

If you want to work on improving your performance on becoming extraordinary, then TRUST will play a key part; I can help you to develop trust and empower you to be the catcher people want on their team – the real star of the show.



With thanks to Henri Nouwen and The Flying Rodleighs 


Elizabeth Toogood
Elizabeth Toogood

About Elizabeth Toogood

Elizabeth is a mixture of mentor, coach and non-executive director. She meets face to face with individuals and gives each of them total focus; there are no matrices or models into which they need to fit. The ethos of Elizabeth Toogood is to offer a high level of support and serious intellectual challenge.
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