If you were to ask five people in your life to rate your trustworthiness on a scale of 1-10, where would it fall? If you were to rate your own trustworthiness, how would you do? To be a trusted leader, you must first be trustworthy.
It is impossible to build trust with others, unless you are personally trustworthy.
I was working with the leader of a non-profit organization. She knew there were trust issues in her team so she brought them together for a session on trust. Her staff told her that her habit of always being late to staff meetings showed a lack of respect for them and their time. She had never considered the impact she had on their trust and respect for her as a leader. It was quite an eye opener for her to realize that she was part of the problem.
Trust and Trustworthiness are based on three core elements:
• act from a well-defined set of guiding principles or values
• be consistent and predictable in behavior
• keep commitments; do what you say you will do
Have you ever felt your integrity was compromised? I have. A manager once asked me how we could change the data in the historical accounting records. “We can’t,” I answered. I wanted no part of cooking the books. Integrity breeds trust, while compromising your integrity grows the circle of mistrust.
• show that you genuinely care about others
• seek to understand the point of view of others
• seek win/win outcomes in transactions with others
Do you know when people have your best interest at heart? I was in a situation where I worked from home to care for my husband when he was very ill. When, after nine months, I told my manager we had just received more bad news, her response was, “Well, you know you have to travel.” Where was the compassion? Is that what you would have said? Showing your compassion for others breeds trust, while a lack of compassion breeds mistrust.
• show you are capable of producing agreed upon results
• fulfill requirements of your role on a consistent basis
• be dependable in meeting or exceeding expectations and agreements
Have you ever fallen short and not delivered something when you said you would? I was working with a client in a holding company who had a programmer who was consistently late in turning in his work and had serious bugs in the code. I coached the manager to explain to the programmer that the team, as well as the internal accounting client, had lost trust in him. He was given 90 days to improve. Interestingly, the programmer did improve his performance, but the internal client no longer trusted him. The breach of trust was too severe to repair. Once trust is lost, it is difficult to regain. Fulfilling your role consistently and dependably breeds trust.
Decades of research studies show that organizations that perform better and achieve better results are organizations built on a foundation of trust. Organizations rely on trusted leaders to deliver better results. If you are a person of integrity, who genuinely cares about others and who is dependable in delivering to expectations, you are banking good will and showing you are trustworthy. Is that how others see you?