“We can build our leadership upon fear, obligation or trust.
However, only a foundation of trust results in the collaboration and goodwill necessary to achieve our peak performance.”
Trusted leaders play a central and critical role in building and leading high-performance organizations.
Whether you lead a multi-million dollar corporation or a small local business, if your team trusts you as their leader, you’ll find it much easier to build a successful, high-performing organization.
And integrity, although critical to trust, isn’t the only element of a trust-based management style.
According to Seattle-based management expert Stephen Robbins, trust is based on four other distinct elements in your relationship with the people you lead. Evaluate yourself on your implementation of these 4 elements:
#1 – Competence
This element may seem strange at first. After all, can’t incompetent people be trusted? Certainly! But incompetent leaders cannot be trusted.
Leaders are held to a higher standard, and part of what your team trusts is that you know what you’re doing. It comes with the territory.
#2 – Consistency
This is one of the most practical elements of trust. If your team knows what you stand for, then they can count on you reacting in a predictable way to certain situations. Over time, as you consistently express those values, they become the shared values of the team as well.
You may have heard of a charismatic leader who intentionally acted unpredictably so as to “shake things up.” While they may have been wildly successful with this method, they aren’t necessarily trusted by their team.
#3 – Loyalty
To a certain extent, your team can only trust you to the degree you are committed to their success and well-being.
Max De Pree, the legendary CEO of Herman Miller and champion of the “servant leader” concept, puts it this way: “The leader’s first job is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between the leader must become a servant and a debtor.” This servant/debtor relationship to your team is one that strongly conveys your loyalty to them.
#4 – Openness
If your team can’t get to know the real you, then they probably can’t get to trust you either. Being open requires a certain amount of vulnerability. And as the leader, YOU will have to “go first” by reaching out and being open and vulnerable first.
The Bottom Line
By investing in building and strengthening these leadership qualities in yourself, you will steadily reinforce your trust relationship with the people who work for you.
Those relationships, in turn, become the foundation for building a high-performance organization, particularly in times of change and stress, when people tend to rely upon their personal relationships.
If your team trusts you in good times, they’re much more likely to stand with you when times turn challenging.
Dare the Extraordinary!