Trust: The Critical Ingredient

Liz Selzer - Thursday, August 17, 2017


“I feel like there is a lot going on behind closed doors…”
“I don’t think he is being honest with us…”
“I just don’t trust her…”


The unraveling of trust in leadership might be the reason your organization feels like it is stalling out. An environment of mistrust hurts productivity more than you might think. The above sentiments of mistrust will affect your work setting, and have proven to be the beginning of stalled initiatives, defensive postures, and toxic company culture. This is the point where work becomes a job instead of a joy.


Having the privilege of developing leaders over the past 20 years has given me the opportunity to consider what truly makes them strong. You know, the type of leaders we passionately follow, leaders who inspire us be more and risk bravely. One thing stands out: Trust is a critical aspect to effective leadership. Jesse Lyn Stoner, author of Full Steam Ahead wisely points out that "People follow leaders by choice. Without trust, at best you get compliance." A compliance mindset kills creativity, stifles energy and halts momentum.


Experience has shown me that lasting leadership is not as much about charisma as it is about character. Trust is not engendered through polished speeches and positional authority, but instead by authentically addressing your team. Trust is not as much about appearing right as it is about approaching difficulties with integrity. It is not looking for blame but rather the celebration of the learning from mistakes. Trust is not about the short-term wins, but about many truthful actions over time.


So then, how do we build trust with those who look to us for leadership? Start with giving others your trust. When we trust our team members, it paves the way for them to trust us as leaders. Model authentic humility. Be honest, always. Communicate often and in as many forms as possible. If you don’t have the answers, tell people that and then work to find them. Ask for people’s perspectives and respectfully consider them. Take the time to actively listen to all the members on your team.


Building trust takes time, but in the end, it will save you time as your team is motivated by your authentic vision, creative because there is the safety of trust from which to springboard ideas, more efficient because they aren’t wasting time self-justifying and self-protecting, and productive because they know what is expected of them. Take time to cultivate trust; it is one of the most effective paths to successful leadership.


April Showers - New Opportunities for MLT

Amanda Dreher - Wednesday, April 26, 2017

April showers in Colorado could just as easily mean snow as rain. However, for MLT April has showered us in exciting opportunities with phenomenal organizations. Here are a few highlights from the past month.


Apollo Mechanical

Continuing development and management of the pilot mentoring initiative for the Portland, OR office.


Women in Propane Mentoring Network

Amanda traveled to Nashville, TN to lead a half day training at the 2017 NPGA Southeastern Convention.


Christian Leadership Alliance

Dr. Liz traveled to Dallas, TX to lead a workshop at the 2017 Outcomes Conference.


General Dynamics Information Technology

Dr. Liz traveled to Herndon, VA for a mentoring initiative consultation.



Collaborating on upcoming offerings, resources and events. Keep an eye out!


Conflict with Interest

Amanda Dreher - Friday, August 19, 2016

Blog by Dr. Liz Selzer


Conflict is “friction or opposition resulting from actual or perceived differences or incompatibilities." Friction can get us heated and can be downright uncomfortable. Why is it that disagreements with certain people seem to take on an ache different from those with others? I know if I have found a person to be “safe,” someone who knows how to listen and state their alternative view with respect, the friction can actually spur healthy discussion and creativity. Consequently when I have a history of unhealthy conflict with someone, I tend to go into avoidance mode because I know that only painful interactions seem to be possible. I can still work on those relationships to become healthier (we discussed ways to do this on the radio show this week), but there is value in knowing ahead of time to put up defenses with people who have proven to be unsafe. 


But what about when conflict unexpectedly raises its head in a relationship that has been encouraging and positive in the past? In my recent experience this type of conflict caught me vulnerable and unprepared to respond. Disturbing and difficult, it robbed me of sleep and appetite, and made me question resolve. As a result of being caught off guard by the very negative reaction to something I had done thinking it would be received in the opposite fashion, I came to a decision point. Do I proceed to continue the friction through arguing for my case or do I instead put the relationship ahead of “being right.” I chose the latter to honor the past gift of friendship I had with this person, even at some personal and professional expense. 


What do you think? Have you had to choose relationship over positive progress? What is the “correct” decision to make? I am at peace with my decision this time, but realize this is a gray area and that it may not always work out this way in the future.

Amanda Dreher, Esq. Bio

Amanda Dreher - Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Amanda Dreher is currently the Chief Creative Officer for the Mentor Leadership Team, a consulting and training company that helps organizations unleash the potential of their people for maximum impact, and the Director of Mentoring Initiatives for Uncommon Individual Foundation, a non-profit focused on empowering individuals to achieve their defined success through personal and professional development. Years ago, when Amanda first met Liz, they began dreaming of what would one day be MLT. Amanda was fueled by a passion to see organizations appreciate and tap into the incredible potential of their unique individuals. Since then Amanda has been the creative mind behind MLT’s resources.


Amanda’s creative approach to content, strategy, and delivery possibilities keeps all of us at MLT on our toes. She has a knack for looking at details from a slightly different angle which challenges us all to think outside the box. Her approach to audio, visual, written and live communication is to provide entertaining and informative content that leaves the audience feeling compelled to change. Amanda’s belief that you should laugh, learn and leave changed has given her an edge when it comes to content creation, production and delivery. And, has made her a successful trainer, author of numerous articles and co-host of MLT’s radio show and podcast, M.A.D. (Mentoring Across Differences).




Dr. John Crosby Bio

Amanda Dreher - Tuesday, May 24, 2016


John Crosby is the founding executive director of the Uncommon Individual Foundation and one of the leading experts on mentoring in the United States. Dr. Crosby aims to use the power of mentoring to help individuals be successful in their careers and to find happiness in their personal lives.


While Dr. Crosby has studied mentoring for over two decades, it is his extensive experience as a mentor that sets him apart from other people in the field. The cornerstone of that experience is his 35 years as an educator.Dr. Crosby spent 20 years as a superintendent of three school districts in Pennsylvania – Bethlehem, Boyertown, and Radnor.


During his 12-year tenure in Radnor, the district was rated one of the nation’s best by The Wall Street Journal. While he was superintendent, Dr. Crosby took administrators, teachers, and students under his wing as protégés. Many of those protégés went on to become teachers, superintendents, business executives, and leaders in their communities.


Dr. Crosby has continued his mentoring work through various educational organizations. He is a member of the Center for School Study Councils for Superintendents, Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania, and an associate member of Suburban School Superintendents.

As a native Texan, and in true Texas fashion, Dr. Crosby believes fully in the importance of mentoring and feels that individuals who are successful need three kinds of mentoring: “A brain to pick, a shoulder to cry on, and a kick in the pants.” Being a gentle soul, though, that kick in the pants is really a confident push in the right direction."


Dr. Richard Caruso Bio

Amanda Dreher - Tuesday, May 24, 2016


Dr. Richard Caruso founded the Uncommon Individual Foundation in 1986 in an effort to pay forward the mentoring that was so important to him during his life. The Foundation encourages Open Mentoring in which individuals seek out as many different mentors as is necessary to reach their dreams. Dr. Caruso believes it is by striving for one’s dreams, and reaching those dreams that individuals can find personal happiness. He encourages people to become their own entrepreneurs, even when they are working for others.


Dr. Caruso has been driven by an entrepreneurial spirit throughout his life and has 35 years of experience in the entrepreneurial field. The biggest recognition for Dr. Caruso’s efforts in entrepreneurship came in 2006 when he was named Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year.


Dr. Caruso founded the Provco Group, which invests in entrepreneurial activities, in 1978. In 1989, Dr. Caruso founded Integra LifeSciences Corporation, which created a new branch of medicine known as regenerative medicine. His widespread business experience in both non-profits and for-profits gives Dr. Caruso unique insight into the importance of taking control of one’s life and career.


As Dr. Caruso says: “Everyone, even those who work for other people, need to become their own entrepreneur. It is only in self-discovery and understanding that people can release the uncommon individual within them.”


These principles can be applied in all aspects of life and in any economic climate. However, the obstacles created by tough economies can afford people opportunities they might not have explored otherwise. By fully understanding their own personal happiness, individuals are capable of making the most of those opportunities. This is the meaning behind Dr. Caruso’s favorite saying, “Become the entrepreneur of the enterprise of your life!”


Dr. Liz Selzer Bio

Amanda Dreher - Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Liz Selzer, PhD, MA, MDiv

Founder, MLT

Vice President, Mentoring, UIF


Liz founded Mentor Leadership Team because she understands the value of people. When people are valued because of their unique qualities and given the skills they need to excel, organizations soar.


Liz is a widely sought after consultant, trainer and keynote speaker on corporate mentoring strategies and leadership development. She has trained in organizations such as NASA, ConocoPhillips, Compassion International, Good Samaritan Hospitals and YUM! Foods. As a practitioner, she has overseen leadership development programs for an organization with more than 30,000 leaders. As a speaker, Liz has a global expertise, training leaders on six continents.


Liz has published two books and countless articles. Her first book, 3G Mentoring describes Mentor Leadership Team's approach toward mentoring as an essential relational strategy to bridge generational distinctions, global diversity and gender differences within the workforce. Her second book, Real Leaders: The Power of Authentic Leadership, draws from her deep practical knowledge of what it takes to be a real leader people will follow. Liz is the co-host of MLT's weekly radio program, M.A.D. (Mentoring Across Differences). She teaches leadership and organizational development as an adjunct at Denver Seminary and Colorado Christian University.


A lifelong learner, Liz has earned three post-graduate degrees, culminating in her Ph.D. in Education with an emphasis in training and performance improvement. People are often surprised to learn that one of Liz's degrees is a Master of Divinity. This degree uniquely qualifies her to meet the needs of faith-based nonprofits and churches as well.


Check out Liz's latest work Your Culture at its Strongest: How to Create an Environment Where People Naturally Do Remarkable Things.

UIF and MLT: A Perfect Synergy

Amanda Dreher - Wednesday, March 16, 2016


“Wow, I have just met one of the true thought leaders in the world of mentoring,” thought Dr. Liz Selzer upon first meeting Dr. Richard Caruso. His extensive experience and true passion for mentoring was evident as he spoke of his numerous entrepreneurial endeavors and how many of them had used mentoring in their very foundation. In fact, Dr. Caruso along with his colleague and friend Dr. John Crosby, had successfully leveraged this passion for the power of mentoring into the creation of the Uncommon Individual Foundation (UIF) to empower people to become the entrepreneurs of the enterprise of their own lives. That first meeting sparked an immediate, synergistic relationship between Dr. Selzer and Dr. Caruso. A relationship based on mutual respect, the desire to help individuals understand their uniqueness and significance, and the belief that mentoring promotes critical learning. Not long after meeting Dr. Caruso, Dr. Selzer was inspired to launch her own company focused on promoting dynamic mentoring cultures including encouragement for leadership development, which she called Mentor Leadership Team (MLT). Driven by the idea that this type of learning inspires personal and professional growth, Dr. Selzer with MLT and Dr. Caruso with UIF were each working to help individuals and organizations capitalize on their experiences and skills, to take hold of all the learning opportunities and resources surrounding them, and to make significant contributions to their communities and their world.


Now, ten years after that first meeting between Dr. Selzer and Dr. Caruso, UIF and MLT are combining their efforts in a powerful synergy. Led by Dr. Caruso and his deep desire to discover the most impactful way to leave a lasting, transformational legacy, UIF recognized the extraordinary potential in bringing together these two organizations to work together to effect real change in individuals and in organizations. With a common vision and the incredible breadth of knowledge and experience in the mentoring arena held by the visionaries behind UIF and MLT, the blending of the two is an extraordinary opportunity to supercharge mentoring efforts nationally and globally. The future is bright as we move forward together to impact people’s lives in a positive way.


Information to Innovation

Jessica Winkler - Thursday, October 16, 2014

Recently while in China, I had the opportunity to train a number of gifted young leaders in mentoring and leadership. Their demanding education would put many of them at the front of any test-taking competition. They are able to memorize incredible amounts of information, and constantly crave to learn more. I was truly in awe of their skill in this venue. Regardless of the amount of information we worked through, they still wanted more. Their desire to learn is insatiable, and I found myself having to bow out of the trainings in the late hours of the day due to fatigue—embarrassed that I could not keep up with their desire to learn.

As the world becomes more technologically nimble, rote memory is helpful, but similar ends can also be achieved through our electronic access to information. As the horizon shifts, often unpredictably, creative thinking and innovation have surfaced as the necessary skills, not merely the memorization of information. Hard to pin down and apply predictable structure to, creativity and innovation are the current currency in a media dominated world. Information does not carry the power it used to…what we do with it does. 

Financially motivated as to what our tuition dollars would produce, I wondered what my son was going to study in college. It is the question on many parents’ lips: “What is your major?” His response to this question made me think. He said he believed that the job he was to have in the future may not even exist today, so he is studying business and psychology to prepare him for the ever-changing future of our global job market. He wants to understand the basics so he can apply them to the unique situations he will face in oncoming tomorrows. As I talked about the dreams and hopes of the young leaders I interacted with, China is too beginning to grasp the importance of this, desiring always to be on top of the intellectual and prosperous business pile. It made me recognize how important it is for us Americans to gratefully stand on the shoulders of past innovators—their creativity producing pride in the “American way.” We truly have a glorious legacy to build on…

What Sort of Questions Do You Ask?

Jessica Winkler - Thursday, October 16, 2014

I have become an avid observer of people’s interactions...a people-relating-watch-aholic. I’ve said many times (with my finger pointing right back at me) that we are a nation of poor listeners. Now I posit that we are also a nation of lazy questioners, which is a corollary to the first criticism on our collective listening skill. We tend to ask questions that we know the answer to—yes or no questions, leading questions. They are simpler and don’t require a long effort in listening to the answer. 

Tough questions require the asker to take on the role of active listener, embodying patience, sincere interest, humility and respect for the work it takes to answer well—because it does take work to answer a good question well. It takes critical thinking to filter an answer through a person’s knowledge and experiences to craft a response that is original and unique. 

If we believe we already know the answer to the question we are asking, and we merely want others to know it or repeat it, then the question will yield little except our own opinion validated. If we are intentional about combining what we know about an individual with the issue at hand so that the question requires a thoughtful answer, then we are both better for it. 

So I ask you: what question will you ask today?

Mentor Leadership Team




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