Why do you think it is so hard for people to trust others (in particular, leaders)? Under the best circumstances, how long does it take for people to trust new leaders? What are the variables that you have seen from your own experience that may make this time shorter or longer?
I think that it is hard for people to trust leaders because they have seen so many leaders fail at leadership and have seen the chaos that come from failed leadership. We all have heard or experienced splits in the local church. These splits have many causes but the key thing to be remembered is that a failure in leadership of a failure to submit to leadership is always the cause of these splits. We look to leaders to be above the petty things that most people fall to but we forget that they are just human as well.
Malpurs says it that it takes at least five years for a new leader to really fall into place and people be willing to follow. There is no guarantee that this will happen then or ever. I think that this is a wishful number. Current research released by Thom Rainer showed that it can take up to seven or more years for leadership to succeed. One thing is clear we cannot expect that being placed into a position means that others will immediately follow.
From my own experience I have seen many leadership issues create problems. Personality clashes are the primary cause of problems. I think that many people have a problem submitting to leadership particularly if it is very different from what they are used to. For example hiring a strong leadership pastor instead of continuing to have a church ruled by committee would create problems. Of course we are all aware of the arguments about music that have split churches.
As for specific variables that contribute to leadership problems I would say that one of the greatest is not being clear. Leaders need to be clear about what they want the group they are leading to accomplish. Also creating problems is not having a firm hand to guide members; now this does not mean to be rough and hard-hearted but rather keeping people on task as we all have a tendency to wonder off-task and get distracted. These are several that contribute to slowing down the leadership cycle.
Speeding up a leadership cycle is pretty simple. Making it clear that you are there to help and not run people over increases the drawing of your person. Many people feel that changes in leadership will lead to them being cast aside. We as leaders need to work on that. Also to speed things up we need to acknowledge that people will have concerns and needs that are not ours. We need to look at how those fit into the project and try to accommodate as we can.
I know from personal experience that if these concerns are met I feel more comfortable about the new leader. One area that should also be explored is the imploring of the Holy Spirit. I know that God will put you with leaders that you did not expect – both for you to follow and to lead. I have found that for my personality learning to submit my will to others has long been a struggle. I have a strong personality and am sure in my beliefs which can create issues with others because I can run over others while trying to get things done. I have had to learn to be meek and learn that it is not all about me.