Trust is the cornerstone of effective relationships. The job of leaders is to extend trust first. But not everyone does that.
How many of you out there feel that trust has to be earned? Is that a result of a previous negative experience in which trust was broken? How are we perceived as effective leaders is we do not role model extending trust first?
What other behaviours to people expect of trusted leaders? They want leaders who will demonstrate respect and talk straight with them. Saying “I do not know” as a leader is more respectful than making up an answer just to seem knowledgeable.
Trusted business leaders also ensure that they “listen first” to their staff. They ask questions to understand and appreciate their staff’s perspectives. They seek their ideas and input and work with them collaboratively to deliver business results.
In addition, people are most willing to trust leaders who keep their commitments and practice accountability. The best leaders in clarify expectations to ensure that everyone is on the same page and share recognition for a job well done. They are not afraid to apologize when they make a mistake and to work on righting wrongs. They realize that they too can learn from mistakes and that paying attention to relationships is just as important as achieving the end goal.
When Trust Is Exhibited By Leaders, The Following Happens:
- Improved problem solving as a result of people’s willingness to speak up and tell the truth
- Transparent, open communications remove doubt and insecurity
- Conflict is reduced and resolved more collaboratively People feel supported and cared for
- People feel respected as adults which builds pride, self-esteem and self- regard
The Present State of Trust in Organizations
Almost everywhere we turn, trust is on the decline. Trust in our culture at large, in our institutions, and in our companies is significantly lower than a generation ago. Research shows that only 49% of employees trust senior management and only 28% believe CEOs are a credible source of information (Covey, Stephen, The Speed of Trust , 2009)
Call to Action
What can you do to increase the trust of leaders? Which behaviours of a trusted leader are you role modelling? What are your expectations of those leaders that you support? Only by holding ourselves and others accountable for trust can we achieve better business results.