Trust is a key element of success in any relationship. It enables us to be more open and giving of our time and energy. It allows us to be forgiving of our partners’ shortcomings and behaviors that irritate us, because we know they have our backs. It also helps us navigate conflict. When we feel allied with someone, it’s easier to work together and take risks that benefit the greater good of the team. This is why building trust in teams is such an important goal, especially for leaders.
If you want to be a leader people can trust, you need to practice and master the art of building trust. It’s a complex process, but there are certain traits that every great leader exhibits. Here are a few of them:
- They walk their talk.
When people trust you, they expect you to follow through on your promises and align your behavior with your values. This means not gossiping, avoiding power plays and always telling the truth. It also means being willing to admit when you’re wrong and apologize when necessary. This is why it’s important to build relationships with your people and be transparent about decisions, processes and changes.
- They make the “say-do” gap close.
A big reason why relationships break down is because there’s a gap between what you say and what you do. For example, if you promise to be more collaborative and transparent with your people, but then spend most of your time in meetings and checking email, that’s not going to create a positive experience for the team. A great leader closes this gap by making sure their words match their actions and by being clear about their expectations for everyone on the team.
- They respect their employees and customers.
A leader who doesn’t respect their employees isn’t a good fit for any role, but it’s particularly important in roles that require high levels of trust – such as firefighting and medicine. This is why many organizations are shifting to a new form of leadership, where they focus on creating a safe and supportive culture for their employees and empowering them to be their best selves.
- They treat their people with dignity and fairness.
Great leaders treat their employees and customers with respect and fairness. This includes listening to and honoring their feedback, recognizing their accomplishments and giving credit where it’s due. It also includes providing a fair compensation plan and treating all employees equally.
If you’re looking to be a great leader, start by practicing these traits in your own life and then apply them to your team. Remember that it’s a process, so don’t be discouraged if you have a few trust wobbles along the way. If you’re persistent and committed, you can build a trustworthy team that will support you in achieving your goals. And when you do, it’s a win for everybody. building trust