“One must be fond of people and trust them if one is not to make a mess of life.” – E.M. Forster
In leadership, the word trust is used daily in assessing if one is a good leader or follower and has many different meanings depending on the situation and feelings of the person. Given the slipperiness and importance of this word, it becomes critical to make sure it is tended to in all conversations and actions. It plays a vital role in building strong relationships and achieving success. By valuing it in your actions and conversations, you can inspire confidence and create a positive impact in the lives of those around you. So never underestimate the power of trust – it’s an essential ingredient for any aspiring leader or loyal follower.
Leaders are in a unique position where they can shape the culture of an organization, to create an environment that is both motivating and engaging. To encourage team collaboration and secure internal trust, it’s up to owners, executives, and managers like you to lead by example. It creates a space where your team will strive for success with increased motivation.
Here are five practices to build trust daily:
Use Good Judgement
Leaders are expected to make good decisions, read situations well, have a fair assessment of character, and get to the heart of the matter so others can move forward. That said, if you cannot make a decision in the moment, be truthful. If the situation is complex, let the group know and work to gain a true understanding by a certain date and time and if the assessment of character is wrong, admit the mistake and make amends. If the heart of the matter is obscure, stay with the situation until it does make sense to you and others.
Demonstrate Consistent Behavior
This is the best secret of leadership. Be consistent with how you communicate, run meetings, make decisions, and treat others. If you begin to do things out of your normal patterns, it will create concerns with your team. However, if you are upgrading your leadership skills, that will be appreciated.
“Trust only movement. Life happens at the level of events, not of words. Trust movement.” – Alfred Adler
The ability to follow up and follow through on your key initiatives, while keeping others up-to-date, and aligned with the goals of the business helps to create a cadence of success throughout the company. This skill and practice become critical during turnarounds or corrections.
“Our distrust is very expensive.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Extend Trust Generously
The best leaders know the value of extending trust. Give people the vision and clear goals and ask them what they need to succeed. Trust they will deliver, that they are imperfect, and that you are imperfect. Touch base regularly on the key indicators for forward momentum and get their thoughts on what is important to focus on next.
Read more on “The Art of Delegation.”
Be Worthy of Trust
People will trust you and sometimes you will break it. If they extend it, say thank you, and let them know what you will do to match their trust. If you break trust, apologize, and make amends. Being worthy of trust means doing your best. Sometimes that is enough and other times it is not. When it is not, be truthful and commit to a better path forward. Speak first, let them know what has happened, acknowledge that it has been broken, and discuss how to repair it going forward.
In the end, trust is a very subjective word. To effectively lead others, create a cadence of trust by consistently matching your words and actions.
“I think we may safely trust a good deal more than we do.” – Henry David Thoreau