I participated in a leadership development programme last year. I thought it would “fill in” my leadership gaps but found that in this learner led programme I wasn’t learning anything. Perhaps that was more about me than the programme.
One thing I did come to understand, through reflection (a capability all leaders need) is that I still believe what I have always believed – trust is fundamental to leading people.
In fact, trust is fundamental to all our relationships. Without trust, our relationships are unhealthy and break down. Trust engenders loyalty and commitment, and as we often hear – you’re not a leader if you haven’t got any followers.
We are experiencing a global anti-establishment mood swing and this year’s Edelman survey of more than 33,000 people in 28 countries reports a 12 point drop in corporate CEO credibility with only 37% of people saying they trust them. Government leaders only have the trust of 29% - which may explain a couple of those global shocks we’ve been experiencing!
So how do leaders build trust?
Be Able: demonstrate capability and credibility by having the right skills, experience and knowledge to do the job. Leaders also demonstrate their capability when they achieve results. Consistently meeting goals and having a track record of success builds trust with others and inspires confidence in a leader’s ability. Able leaders are also skilled at facilitating work getting done in the organisation.
Be Believable: act with integrity. Dealing with people honestly and keep promises, don’t lie or stretch the truth and don’t gossip. Believable leaders also have a clear set of values that they articulate to their direct reports, and they behave consistently with those values. Treating people fairly and equitably is another key component to being a believable leader. Be fair and treat people appropriately and justly based on their own unique situation.
Be Connected: show care and concern for people, which builds trust and helps create an engaging work environment. Openly share information about yourself and the organisation and trust employees to use that information responsibly. Build trust by building rapport and putting people first. Take an interest in people as individuals, not nameless workers, value and respect your team members. Recognition is a vital component of being a connected leader, and praising and rewarding employees’ contributions builds trust and goodwill.
Be Dependable: maintain reliability and follow through on commitments. Doing what you say will earn you a reputation of being consistent and trustworthy. Be organized so you can follow through on commitments, be on time for appointments and meetings, and get back to people in a timely fashion. Dependable leaders also hold themselves and others accountable for following through on commitments and taking responsibility for their work.
Gillian Peacock - Change Leader
Ref. Behaviors Associated with Trust source: The Ken Blanchard Cos., 2016.