To a large extent, the influence and success of a leader will depend on whether or not he or she is trusted. As a new leader, you may have the best and brightest ideas for the future but to bring them to fruition you will need team members on board and receptive to your leadership.
Sadly, throughout the world, many people have real trust issues with their work, political and religious leaders.
There are no short-cuts to building trust. Although, here are some things to think about.
4 ways to build trust as a leader
1. Act with integrity.
This should not come as a surprise, but the key to gaining trust is to be trustworthy. As a new leader you will be watched by others in the team and they will form an impression of you from what they hear you say and watch you do. Leaders are respected when they have clear and noble values which they live by. Every breach of integrity will damage your leadership influence. Leaders aren’t perfect, so when you make a mistake admit it, accept responsibility and ask for forgiveness.
2. Deliver consistently.
Letting people down with consistency, delivery and quality will erode their confidence in you. There are some people, who we know from experience, won’t ring us when they have said they would. It’s not that they are dishonest but they are someone who forgets or gets sidetracked. Even worse if it’s the leader who cannot be relied on. Through rain, hail or snow make good on your promises. Always deliver at your highest quality.
3. Show vulnerability.
Leaders who believe they are perfect, all-knowing, always right and superior to the people in their teams are not only kidding themselves but will not be able to build trust from their team members. Likewise, leaders who are always sharing their intimate problems, failures and weaknesses will also not inspire others to have confidence in them.
However, leaders who have a healthy awareness of their strengths and share their mistakes or their feelings, show the team that they are humble and open. I find that, by being a little vulnerable, people feel that leaders are fallible and are on a journey of growth just like they are.
4. Accept that you can’t win them all.
One other thing that I have learned about leadership is that there will always be people who won’t trust you because they don’t trust ANY leaders. You may never win with them, so just keep doing what you do well and do it on time and honestly.
If someone is attacking your integrity be confident that most people will judge you based on their experiences and not on negative chatter. If the undermining is ongoing and serious, then perhaps it is time to challenge the person to give examples of how you have allegedly lacked integrity. Maybe it’s time for them to put up, shut up or just shut the door as they leave.
What are some others ways to build trust as a leader?