With talk of security breaches surfacing in the news recently, the issue of trust comes to mind. The very concept may seem a bit old fashioned in an age where we’ve relaxed our standards about a good many virtues, but as all the press shows, being able to trust our leaders is as important as it’s always been. For our leaders ever to become leaders in the first place, they must gain our trust. Once they have, to remain in good standing requires our continued trust. And if they lose our trust, we all know how difficult, and in certain circumstances, impossible it is for them to regain it.
This is just as true for business leaders as it is for politicians. Because it is such an essential ingredient, one of the first topics I bring up in my New Manager Leadership Training course is this issue of trust.
Employees don’t like to feel they are being managed. It goes against human nature to relinquish control. However, they feel empowered following a leader they can trust.
Some people seem to inspire trust by their very presence. They give off the warmth vibe; it’s called charisma. If you are lucky enough to possess this quality, you have probably already enjoyed a good deal of career success. If it doesn’t come so naturally, you may be among the majority who have to work a bit harder at attaining others trust. The good news is that being trustworthy is also a function of competence and it is a skill that you can actually learn.
People generally fall into two groups when it comes to putting their trust in someone. Some trust others immediately, until they are proven wrong. Others do not trust anyone until they’ve got enough experience with them to justify it. Working on the assumption that it’s this second group you’re dealing with, you would build trust over shared experiences, such as working together to overcome a mutual challenge.
However, new managers often don’t have the luxury of time to earn trust from their staff members. So, a way to start off on the right track is to focus on the other person, rather than yourself. If you engage, listen attentively, and vocalize your appreciation of their experience and perspective, they will feel respected, seen and heard and they will begin to trust you. Another thing you can do is be honest, even transparent. If something bad is happening, acknowledge it. If you don’t have all the answers, admit it. No one expects you to be superhuman. And you will, in fact, be appreciated for acknowledging that you, like your employees, don’t always have all the answers. When it comes to gaining trust, authenticity wins over arrogance every time.
For a complete arsenal of techniques you can use to accelerate trust building, along with tools and skills to address other qualities of leadership, sign up for my New Manager Leadership Training course. Go to my consulting page to learn more.