Building Trust into your Leadership

  Building Trust Image

Remember the first time you rode a bike without training wheels?

There was a critical moment where you decided to try it even though you were afraid. Most likely, there was someone nearby coaching you and letting you know you were ready.

It’s much the same with building trust into your leadership. People who trust their leader will follow him/her even when the outcome may be scary or the change difficult to accept.

Trustworthiness is developed by a number of actions that you consistently take. They need to be demonstrated sincerely and equally with team members.

William Bridges outlines specific ways to build trust in his book, Managing Transitions – Making the Most of Change.

  1. Tell the truth. Keep your word. Do what you say you will do. Most people’s mistrust comes from the untrustworthy actions of others in the past.
  2. If you cannot keep your word, warn the person (or persons) as soon as you can. Then, explain the circumstances as to why there is a failure to do as you promised.
  3. Listen to people carefully. Paraphrase to make sure you have it right. People trust most those they believe understand them.
  4. Understand what matters to people and work hard to protect it. People trust those who are looking out for their best interests.
  5. Be comfortable in your own skin. Sometimes mistrust happens when people can’t read you. Being a “put on” will come back to haunt you.
  6. Be open.  Ask for feedback and acknowledge unasked for feedback.  You will be able to learn a great deal about yourself and the other person giving the feedback.
  7. Try extending your trust of others a little further than you normally would. Role model the behavior you want to see in your organization.
  8. Don’t confuse being trustworthy with being a “buddy” with some of the people on your team. All will notice this behavior. Other team members will quickly realize that they are not in the favored group.
  9. Clarify your purpose. Make sure everyone sees your vision and knows the path for getting there.

“Remember, the final measure of your life won’t be how well you live, but how well others live, because of you.”

 Bill Gates, Founder, Microsoft