Leadership must be built upon a bedrock of trust.
This need is obvious in combat, when soldiers must trust their officers to make sound judgment and not to risk the lives and safety of their men needlessly or carelessly. In turn, officers must trust their soldiers to do their duty, and to strive to fulfill not only the specific order given, but the spirit of what the mission is trying to accomplish.
Equally important, but often overlooked, is the need for trust in the staff roles so critical to the functioning of our armed forces. If we want our military to continue to evolve and advance, we require the overall organization – and the individual men and women who comprise it – to innovate. Innovation requires personal and professional risk: of failing to achieve an objective, trying something new that doesn’t work, and possibly looking foolish in the eyes of those we respect and report to. That risk requires trust.
Read this chapter in the book, Military Leadership in the 21st Century: The Bridge Compendium.