Have you ever worked with a boss who used intimidating tactics to “motivate” their employees? I witnessed such a situation in a company that had always had a stellar reputation for its 100 years in business. When this one leader took charge of a 500-employee group, he caused massive turmoil inside of a year. Customer complaints skyrocketed; community goodwill tanked and employee morale hit record lows. He thought that the best way to get everything he wanted was to threaten the jobs of people, yell and berate them in meetings and tell customers there was a new way of doing things. This was a huge breach of community, customer and employee trust.
At some point in our career we will all have a boss or witness a boss who breaks trust with devastating results. The first priority in relationships with others, particularly as leaders, is to build and sustain trust.
Here are the things that have worked for me to gain trust on the hundreds of teams I have led and the thousands of people I have worked with.
The five disciplines of a trusted leader:
- Be Trustworthy:
- Involve Others:
- Synergize Efforts:
Decades of research studies show that organizations that perform better and achieve better results are organizations built on a foundation of trust. Trust must begin at the top and then extend throughout the company building strong collaborative business relationships among leaders, teams, employees, customers, stakeholders and the community.
Are you trustworthy?
Trust is more than integrity. You must care about your employees
and you must fulfill your role consistently.
In every interaction, the way you act will either build a circle of trust that leads to collaboration, or it will build a circle of mistrust that leads to collusion.
Think of the circle of trust as an emotional bank account
– we always want to be banking good will.
Look at yourself and then look around you. Where do you need to go to work to eliminate collusive behaviors such as gossip, back-stabbing, blame, incompetence, disregard, disrespect? All of these things create a poor working environment and zap productivity and energy.
In dialogue with your peers and your teams, your ultimate aim is to create a pool of shared understanding in an atmosphere of respect and goodwill. By balancing advocating your position with asking others’ for theirs, you will reach the best outcome for everyone involved.
Synergy – When people operate together in an atmosphere of mutual respect,
they are at the highest level of their ability.
Steps to Becoming a High Trust Leader
- Clarify your desired outcome, intent and concerns
- State your commitment to mutual respect
- Ask each party to share what is most important to him/her
- Brainstorm possible solutions and evaluate those options that best meet the needs of all parties
- Agree upon the actions to be taken by each party