Over the last couple of years I have been particularly interested in how trust impacts leaders and their performance in the business. Through my work as a coach, facilitator and trainer, I have been surprised at how little leaders reflect and consider the levels of trust that they have with their team members and the broader organisation. Trust building needs to be worked on regularly and becomes even more critical with virtual teams.
Below are some ideas that I have noted that help build stronger bonds of trust between leaders and team members.
1) Communicate and then communicate some more.
One of the things I see in so many workplaces are people being busy and focusing way too much on task and not communicating effectively with their team members. Create space and time to clarify your goals and priorities as well as working together to joint problem solve. Remember though that a significant part of communication is listening, so create time for this also.
2) Dole out your trust
To get people to trust you more, you have to trust them even more. Be the paragon of trusting that you expect from your team. Look for opportunities to demonstrate trust and if things don’t go quite as planned give people the benefit of the doubt and the space and time to correct things.
3) Be honest and open
Without honesty trust is very difficult to have or improve. Part of being honest is sharing and giving the good and not so good news, even if it hurts a bit sometimes. Team members look to their leaders to keep them informed and tell them the truth. Sincere communication is essential to strengthen relationships so keep in touch regularly with what is happening around the team and the broader organisation.
4) Meet your commitments
Nothing breaks trust quicker than being told something will happen and then it doesn’t. Reliability in all of the research I have done comes close to the top in terms of building and maintaining trust. keeping promises should be a priority to any leader. Think before committing to something to ensure you create the right expectation.
5) Create consistency in all that you do
Be predictable both in how you do your own work but also in how you treat and work with others. There is nothing worse than working with someone who you are unsure about how they may react to some news or a request for help. The more consistent you are the more likely your team members are to engage with you and that builds trust.
6) Be available
Ensure that you create a climate of availability with your team. Share with your team the best ways of keeping in touch and communicating. When on the road, let people know when you can be reached. Create commitments about how quick you will reply or get back to people.
7) Be confidential
Team members expect to be able to confide in their leaders. This means that you need to be able to deal with conversations that are conflictive, confidential or personal and keep the content under wraps. Breaking this unwritten rule is one of the quickest ways of breaking trust
8) Be authentic
Be yourself in all that you do, bring your values and way to life into how you lead and interact. People quickly suss if you are playing the political game and this does not do you any favours with your team.
Leadership trust reflections
- Consider how many of the 8 tips you do on a regular basis.
- Reflect on the quality of trust with your team members and peers and consider the actions you can take to build trust.
- Focus on critical relationship you need to improve and put a trust building plan into place.
What other tips do you have for building leadership trust?
I am keen to know. Please leave your thoughts and feedback below.
Thanks for reading, Andi Roberts
[Image Credit: Sxc.hu Profile: Avolore]