Think about a boss who you did not trust. You spent all your time watching your back and questioned every decision that boss made for fear of getting stabbed in the back. Lack of trust breeds fear which can result in unproductive behaviors. Great leaders know this and, therefore, invest time building trusting relationships.
Here are 8 things you can do to build AND maintain trust
How can we expect people to trust us if we do not trust them? When we don’t trust others, we miss the opportunity to uncover their capabilities. If trusting people is hard for you, then start by trusting them with smaller projects and building up from there. You can show people you trust them by delegating (this does not mean that you don’t hold them accountable). Give people reasonable autonomy and room to make mistakes and learn from them.
All of us know people who say the “right things”, but when it comes to “doing them”; it is a whole different story. People can tell when someone is not being genuine so do not pretend to be something you are not. As a leader, the spotlight is shining even brighter on you. People are watching to see if your words match your actions. On a daily basis you should reflect on your behavior and assess if you are consistently walking the talk. You must know who you are at your core, what your values are and what you are willing to compromise or not.
Be as transparent as you can
One of the biggest things that people do in organizations is hold on to information because information is power. When you fail to disclose information for the sole purpose of making yourself important, people take notice and they question your intentions. This is not to say that as a leader, there are legitimate reasons why sometimes you cannot disclose information. The key here is to weigh the pros and cons and make a decision based on the best interest of the organization and the employees, not of the leader.
You will be amazed at how much respect and admiration you will get from showing your vulnerability. This does not mean that you air all your dirty laundry or talk about personal issues with everyone in the office. It is about (when appropriate) letting others know that you know you are not perfect, that you are a human being. Let’s face it; people already know you are not perfect, so why not admit it? It takes humility and self-confidence to admit our shortcomings to ourselves and so much more to admit it in front of others.
Put others first
Leadership is about putting the needs of the organization and the needs of the people in it before yours. Take the time to get out of your office and establish a relationship with those you lead. Get to know them. Ask about their personal lives, their families, what their goals are and how you can support their efforts.
This is one of those skills that differentiate great leaders from the rest of the pack. I can instantly recognize who is a great leader versus who is not by how much talking they do. Leaders who are self-centered like to hear themselves talk when they should be listening. They are not interested in what others have to say. Leaders who listen, care about others, therefore, they are able to build trusting relationships.
Don’t throw people under the bus
One of the first things you learn as a leader in the military is that when things go great, you recognize people for their efforts. When something goes wrong, the leader takes responsibility. This does not mean that you don’t hold people accountable. You do, but only after you, as the leader, assume responsibility as well.
Ask what they expect from you
Each person is different, with different expectations and needs. There is nothing wrong with asking what they expect from you as a leader, peer, CEO, etc. Just by you asking this simple questions, allows trust to be built.
Trust is the foundation for all successful relationship in life and in business. Why? People allow those they trust to influence them.
Below, in the comment section, tell us which one out of the 8 you think is the most important to build trust.