Trust to be trusted
I’m sure you’d agree that earning the trust of your team is essential to producing a high performing and healthy unit. If team members don’t trust their leader, they tend not to communicate well with the leader or others within the team, and lack of communication…well that doesn’t lead to successful results. It’s also been shown that trust leads to better employee engagement, motivation, openness (especially in regard to challenges) and happiness. Performance aside, how healthy can the culture be when distrust is in the air?
Here’s a quick summary of some things I’ve learnt and experienced that can help build a trust.
Open that door!
When you have closed door meetings, you’re saying — ’this info is really important and anyone on the outside isn’t trustworthy enough to hear it’. Unfortunately if we’re on the outside, our minds wonder and we jump to conclusions.
We can communicate, however if we don’t communicate well, we may tell a different story. Give consideration to both what and how you communicate your messages, don’t just wing it. If nothing else, be intentional about the key idea you want the recipient/s to walk away with.
Display humble competence
Continue to learn and upskill. You need to know what you’re talking about and be able to talk the same language to gain trust. However it’s always better to do this with a humble heart…and by the way never claim to be ‘the expert'.
Spend time with individuals, learn things about them through conversation, remember what’s important to them. It’s important to show that it’s not all business, you’re a team and you’re in it together.
Be transparent with your information. When you leave a gap in any information, you’re in a face off against the rumormill as staff fill the void with their own assumptions.
Take blame and give credit
It’s important to give credit to the team for success and even individuals where you can. If you take all the credit, why would someone want to continue to do faceless work? Furthermore take the blame for the team, show that you’re a fearless leader who ‘has their back’. People need to feel trusted, so that they can try things and it be safe to fail.
All of the above are pointless unless you trust your people. After all, why should someone trust you, if you can’t trust them? If you can’t trust their abilities/skills just yet, that’s ok (work with them) — but at the very least convey trust in their intentions and character.