Reboot Podcast Episode #42 – Building Relational Trust – with Parker Palmer

The Reboot podcast showcases the heart and soul, the wins and losses, the ups and downs of startup leadership. On the show, Entrepreneurs, CEO’s, and Startup Leaders discuss with Jerry Colonna the emotional and psychological challenges they face daily as leaders.

Episode 42 // June 12, 2016

If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.


Parker J. Palmer

Parker J. Palmer

Author, educator, and activist - Founder and Senior Partner Center for Courage & Renewal

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Episode Description

Parker Palmer is a man whose teachings mean so much to us and our work at Reboot, so it’s wonderful to welcome him back to the podcast for a new conversation with Jerry.  Jerry invited Parker back to explore some important questions:

  • What is the role of community in responding to a toxic environment?
  • How do I respond when my leader hasn’t done their work and is leading from that place of shadow?
  • What does it mean when a leader is using organization to resolve unconscious issues?

 As is always the case when Parker and Jerry get together, this is a conversation-packed full of deep lessons on leadership, the shadow, the importance of relational trust, and the incredible power present in community. This episode will leave you with new, profound questions and answers about yourself, your role in your organization, and the power you hold, but may not yet accept. 

Parker J. Palmer on Twitter

Show Highlights

Top Quotes:

“The effort to help a leader look at themselves in the mirror and see their own shadow at work is likely to result in punitive action sooner or later.” – Parker Palmer

“The question is how to build (in an organization) the kind of community that creates more resilience in these personal encounters, especially of the tough kind.” – Parker Palmer

“Good leaders are aware of two things: 1) Whether they know it or not, they do have a shadow. 2) They need to build a trustworthy network of relationships where people can tell them the truth.” – Parker Palmer

“This isn’t just about personal development. This is about being effective as an organization, effectively improving the bottom line, and meeting all the demands that leaders and their organizations are under.”  – Parker Palmer

“Relational trust is the primary driver of mission success in a wide range of organizations.” – Parker Palmer

“Part of the definition of leadership in our society has to be putting the priority on the building of relational trust. This is what friends have between them.” – Parker Palmer

“If you want to be a good leader of an organization, you are going to have to put a high priority on building relational trust simply because the research tells us that it is essential to mission success.” – Parker Palmer

“From the point of view of people who perceive themselves as powerless, step number one is to remember that you are not powerless. You have to reframe your own reality.”  – Parker Palmer

“Are you powerless in comparison to the single mother in the inner city who is raising three children and holding down two jobs?” – Parker Palmer

“When we start looking at our own lives with some perspective on the continuum from powerless to powerful, we start to see some new possibilities for ourselves.” – Parker Palmer

“Step two, after your reframe yourself from powerless to at least having some degree of power, is that power comes from community.” – Parker Palmer

“Your complicitness in not holding yourself accountable for your role in the organization could be coming from your shadow.” – Jerry Colonna

“What our world needs most of all is more grown-ups. When you are not being a grown-up you are operating out of your shadow.”  – Parker Palmer

“Stepping into non-positional leadership is challenging.” – Parker Palmer

“The strategies have to start at a fairly low threshold of do-ability because people are intimidated by their own power if they haven’t assumed it already.” – Parker Palmer

“There is one power that no one can take from us, which is the power of the human heart.” – Parker Palmer

“I am a full and worthy human being, and I am not the half a human being, or less, that society treats me as.” – Parker Palmer

“When you stand up for yourself there is an inherent reward.” – Parker Palmer

“People come to a moment of understanding that no punishment anyone could lay on them could be greater than the punishment they lay on themselves by conspiring in their own diminishment.” – Parker Palmer

“One of the things we know about human history is that there are one thousand unintended consequences to every really smart and strategic decision.” – Parker Palmer

“Know you are not alone, and that you can’t do it alone.” – Jerry Colonna

“Not only do you have power, but the kind of power you have is not lone ranger power. It is communal power.” – Parker Palmer

“Connectedness is the weave and fabric of all reality.”   – Parker Palmer

“There is no ‘them.’ There is only ‘us’.” – Jerry Colonna

“There is an opportunity, even in the most toxic environment.” – Jerry Colonna