People do not follow leaders they do not trust. If you and I are trustworthy, we’ve jumped a significant hurdle on the path to effective leadership. It we are not seen as trustworthy, no amount of skill will suffice. If your heart is not right, no one cares about your skills. Today’s Challenge question is… How do you build trust?
As with many of the topics I address here on this site, volumes have been written by women and men far more knowledgeable. Today’s question deserves much more than I can offer here. So, if this is an issue you struggle with, I recommend you do a deep dive. Maybe this should be your focus in your 2016 development plan.
For now, I’ll offer a few ideas to jump start your thinking. Don’t look for any revelations here. [tweet_box design="default"]Building trust is the same for the executive as it is for the first grader.[/tweet_box]
Show up – This is not about mere physical presence. This is about how we show up. Be present in the moment. Be engaged. Contribute. Add value. How we show up makes a huge difference and communicates far more than we want to believe. If we do this well, it contributes to our trustworthiness.
Be prepared – Preparedness communicates interest. It communicates engagement. When we are not prepared, people think we don’t care. How many people do you trust who don’t care enough to prepare for a meeting or an event?
Do what you say you are going to do – It doesn’t get any more basic than this. Trust is more easily vested in men and women of integrity. If our words and actions are not aligned, this creates questions and gaps. These gaps erode trust very quickly.
Tell the truth – If you and I are going to garner followers, we must tell the truth. Deception is not congruent with a servant leader. Incongruence equals lack of trust, and rightly so. Our people deserve the truth.
Deliver with excellence – Incompetence never builds confidence or trust – neither does half-hearted effort. Leaders who do their jobs well are much easier to trust. If you consistently make bad decisions, or cannot execute your assigned duties, you will eventually lose the trust of those around you.
Think others first – Servant leaders don’t think less of themselves, they just think of themselves less. If you believe a leader is looking out for your best interests, you are much more likely to trust him or her. On the flip side, if you think the leader is more concerned with his or her career and reputation than they are yours, trust is rarely given.
The bottom line – if you and I want to lead well, we must build trust. Trust doesn’t come with the office or the title; it is something earned over months, years and decades.
Invest the time and energy and become trustworthy![GLS_Shield]