How do Leaders Build Trust?

Jun 19, 2017   //   by Gail Barker   //   Blog, Previous Blog Posts  //  No Comments

How do Leaders Build Trust?

Earlier this week, as I was delivering a workshop on Leading Change, I fielded the following question:

“How do we build trust in an environment where it’s missing?”

It’ a really relevant question for many organizations; and it’s one with a fairly simple answer.

You build trust by being trustworthy. That’s what it boils down to. The challenge inherent in this, of course, is that simplicity doesn’t translate into immediacy. it takes time for folks to lean into your trustworthiness. Let me explain.

When I talk about being trustworthy, I’m essentially asking you to act as Barbara Coloroso advises: “Say what you mean, mean what you say, and do what you say you’re going to do.” This is what lies at the heart of whether or not folks will trust you. If you say what you mean and mean what you say – ALWAYS – and if you ALWAYS do what you say you’re going to do then trust is built. Inherently. Without struggle. With ease.

The challenge is that you need to be CONSISTENT.

You can’t say what you mean SOMETIMES. And you can’t do what you said you’d do today, but not tomorrow. If you’re inconsistent in your behavior, trust will not build.

Moreover, you’ve got to make yourself available. You’ve got to be willing to hear what others are saying and truly listen to their concerns. You must be willing to invest time in establishing relationships and creating space for others.

Also, when it comes to building trust, as a leader you must hold yourself accountable and take responsibility for the impact you create around you. Trust me when I say, folks are watching you. If you make a mistake and act like it didn’t happen, or pass the buck, or pretend that it was an intentional act, you will erode any possibility of trust.

Bottom-line: the building of trust – especially when it is absent to begin with – takes time. The key to building trust is a simple one: be trustworthy. Those who are trustworthy earn trust; those who are not, don’t. Plain and simple.  Be trustworthy, and you’ll create an environment of trust, which means you’ll create a work environment that works. And that, when it comes right down to it, is the ultimate goal.

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