Frances Frei – Unleashing and repairing trust as a leader 

Hey everyone – the Inside Influence team and I are taking an eight week sabbatical this winter (or summer if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere) to generally reset, recalibrate and refill our creative tanks.

For many of us, myself included, that means traveling across the world to see family members where it’s been far too long between hugs.

To keep you fueled while we’re gone, we’ve traveled back through the archives and pulled out four of our favorite Inside Influence episodes of all time. I can also hand on heart say that each of these has, in some way, radically changed how I show up, lead and influence.

If you’re new to the Inside Influence crew, enjoy the ride. If you’re a long time listener, these are definitely conversations worth listening to twice.

Stay safe and we’ll see you back with a brand new season in August.

Today’s Guest 

Frances Frei is an American academic and author. She is the UPS Foundation Professor of Service Management and Senior Associate Dean for Executive Education at Harvard Business School. She is also the author of the recently released book: ‘Unleashed: The Unapologetic Leaders Guide to Empowering Everyone Around You’. 

On top of that – she also leaped into Silicon Valley – and became the very first Senior Vice-President for Leadership and Strategy at Uber, brought in at a time when Uber was under fire from pretty much every corner of the planet. Her job description? To try and restore trust at a time when it was at an all time catastrophic low. 

Her first decision in that role says a lot about who she is – committing to wear an Uber T-shirt every day, until the people working alongside her were as proud to wear it as she was… but more on that later. 

What brought her first into my world was actually her TED talk ‘How to Build and Rebuild Trust’. Where her insightful and – more than anything else – practical views on building trust in a world where it’s in short supply, became the first time I began to view trust as something tangible – that we can all build – quickly and predictably.

You’ll Learn

  • Unapologetic leadership – what it is, what it looks like and why it has nothing to do with refusing to take responsibility – in fact quite the opposite.
  • Devotion –. What does it take to be deeply devoted to the ‘wild success’ of another human being? More success than they could possibly achieve on their own. Then – if we can do it once – which we can – how do we take that impact and harness it to create a cascade effect – where it goes on to transform a team, an entire organisation (reference again her time at Uber) or a whole Nation. 
  • How to set and hold high standards without disconnecting from the person you’re trying to support. 
  • The taking and giving of radical responsibility 
  • The Trust Triangle; what the three points of the triangle are, how to achieve them and how to maintain them.

Leadership is hard at the best of times – in the middle of a pandemic, on the edge of a recession, when you’re miles away from those you’re trying to serve and support. I’m not sure it gets much harder. If I took anything from this conversation, it’s the calm and wholehearted way in which Frances approaches the tough stuff. If nothing else, I hope that carries with you into your day.

In the meantime, sit back and enjoy my conversation with Frances Frei

References and links mentioned

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