One of my favorite people on the planet is Jack Lannom. His organization helps companies put “People First.” Jack has had a tremendous impact on my life and my family. I first met Jack through an audio program entitled Memory Genius. If you get nothing else from this post, check out that program. It can change your life.
The reason I start this post with an introduction to Jack is he has a model for building trust I want to share with you. Please understand, this is a 50,000 foot view of a topic of supreme importance to you and me as leaders.
The reason I want to share this content, even at a high level, is I’m convinced most leaders don’t think enough about building trust. This can be a career-ending mistake. People don’t follow leaders who they do not trust. Worse yet, they may not leave; they may choose to stay on your payroll and be among the 70% of American workers Gallup says are not engaged in our organizations.
Here’s Jack’s trust model…
Character – I’ve been thinking and writing a lot about this recently. Jack includes core character traits under this heading – attributes such as integrity, humility and transparency.
Competence – People do want and expect their leaders to be competent. It just makes sense; you wouldn’t trust a doctor who wasn’t competent. Neither will people trust an incompetent leader. Skills still matter.
Confidence – People want to draw energy, passion and confidence from their leaders. We cannot impart that which we do not possess. Is our confidence well founded? Is it genuine and born of passion or inauthentic and born of hubris?
Caring – I don’t know who said this first, but people really don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Are you encouraging, empathetic? Do you show genuine concern for others? These behaviors fuel trust.
Communication – Everything we do as leaders communicates something. How we invest our time, what we say yes to and what we say no to. How well we listen. Our words matter too. They carry a disproportionate weight. Do we speak with clarity? Do we speak the truth?
Consistency – Are you the same person when talking to the chairman or the maintenance staff? Do you respond differently from day-to-day based on your mood? People want leaders to model the values of the organization daily, not occasionally.
Commitment – Are you all in? Are you dedicated to the people you serve? Are you sold out to the organization? It’s not reasonable to think people will demonstrate a higher level of commitment than we do. If we ask for more than we’re willing to give, we don’t just fail to build trust – we lose it.
This list makes perfect sense – some might say it even looks like common sense. The problem with common sense is that it’s not all that common. I’ve said for years, people always watch the leader. Jack has given us a tremendous checklist for what people are looking for!
How are you doing? What do your people see in each of these areas? I would invite you to do a self-assessment. If you’re feeling bold, ask some folks close to you to rate you on these seven attributes. The good news about assessments – you don’t have to stay where you are, you just have to start there.
If you’re uncertain regarding your next steps, I’m sure Jack would be willing to help.[GLS_Shield]