Leadership and trust

I have been reading quite a bit on blogs and web sites about trust and leadership. There is a trust model that I use where trust in leaders comes from two things – my belief that you are competent and my belief that you care about me as a person. However, one of my LinkedIn colleagues, Christina Dean, recently shared some broad details of another model which also includes predictability and integrity. I like it!

So why is trust so important in the workplace? Trust in leaders is a key ingredient of employee engagement. Trust builds relationships and teamwork  and is a core foundation of cooperation. Simply put – if your people trust you they will go above and beyond what you expect of them.

To create trust, you have to address all the elements of the trust model.

You are competent – your people need to see that you are competent. If they trust that you are leading them in the right direction, that you know what you are doing, they will go with you. If they don’t think you are competent, why would they follow you anywhere? Lead by example, do your job well.

You care – your people need to feel that you have a genuine connection with them, that they are not just cogs in your wheel of work.  Create space to get to know people, mentor and coach. Encourage a supportive, empowering and collaborative culture. Demonstrate that you have considered the impact on people in your decisions.

You are predictable – people like stability from leaders. It is very unsettling (not to mention discouraging) if the boss changes his / her mind all the time, or has mood swings that give you whiplash. Create stability in your organisation by promoting shared vision, purpose, strategy and behaviours – create a common identity for your people. Be really cognisant of the impact your mood has on others – you want your people to feel better from spending time with you, not worse.

You have integrity – people need to see that you stand for something important. That you do the right thing, stick to your promises and treat people with dignity and respect. The higher you get in the leadership ranks, the more your decisions will be scrutinised for fairness and consistency. Be fair, transparent and ethical always. Apply the sunlight test to your decisions – how would you feel if it was on the front page of the newspaper tomorrow?

What other elements make up trust for you?

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3 replies on “Leadership and trust”

I believe it’s imperative that leaders have a strong. clear vision of what and where they’re leading people to. The best leaders take the time to make sure this vision is understood and shared by all.

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