Building trust and managing it long term, is one of the number one skills of a high performing leader. Leaders often talk about the need to build trust but few have a clear strategy that they follow on a regular basis. To get it right requires a variety of skills from:
- demonstrating a list of trusted behaviours,
- right through to using some techniques to build trust quickly in teams.
1. Know Thyself and Be Congruent
“Trust is the conviction that the leader means what he says…a leader’s actions and a leader’s professed beliefs must be congruent, or at least compatible.” Peter Drucker
2. Set Clear Expectations of Who you Are and What you Need
People feel more comfortable with a leader when they know what they are doing and why. Once you know yourself better you can tell others:
- how you like to work,
- how you like to be communicated with, and
- what you plan to do so that anyone can understand it.
3. Engage for Impact
People love it when a leader has a big, exciting vision for the organisation that pushes everyone forward. It gives them the confidence that the business will survive long-term because leaders know what to do. Leaders need to regularly communicate:
- where the business stands,
- why work matters,
- what’s coming up next, and
- how they plan to get everyone there.
4. Be Explicit
“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” George Bernard Shaw
5. Be an Active Listener (and keep quiet)
6. Reflect Feedback, Not Failure
7. Use sincere inquiry (to understand needs)
“The minute we begin to think we have all the answers, we forget the questions.” Madeleine L’Engle
8. Build in accountability
Improving accountability means having clear consequences for poor performers. Hold people accountable when they drop the ball. Demonstrate accountability by putting in processes to:
- evaluate every project (what was good/bad, what can be improved),
- track weekly results/deadlines/accountabilities, and
- articulate clear action steps at the end of each meeting.
9. Connect Individually with Team Members
Trust in Communication
Leaders who lead with trust follow through on promises and hold others to account. They communicate honestly and frequently. They help employees see the meaning behind their work and that they matter. They create a safe environment for people to speak up and be themselves. The outcome is a fun, more enjoyable workplace where everyone works together to reach their goals.
How will you communicate today build trust with your colleagues?