“If you tell the truth, you don’t need a good memory,” Mark Twain once famously said. Honesty is a necessity to build trust. And in a world that feels very upside down and changes regularly, trust is more important than ever before.
Besides honesty, what other key leadership skills are required to create and maintain trust? Effective leaders in the workplace know not only what these are but also how to hone them and build stronger and more resilient teams.
Essential Behaviors for Business Leaders to Build Trust
In the article, “How Leaders Build Trust,” by Harvard Business Review, it’s noted that three essentials must be in place for leaders to build trust with their teams, or to regain trust after it’s been broken.
These three behaviors are:
- Creating positive relationships within teams—whether this is helping mediate in conflicts, assisting team members to rely on each other’s strengths, or making sure everyone’s voice is heard, the creation of a solid team relationship can’t be overstated.
- Demonstrating expertise and good judgement–There’s little more frustrating to employees than having a direct supervisor who has no idea what they do or how they do it. Showing your employees that you value their work starts with you being familiar with the tasks and challenges they face daily. Likewise, using wise judgement further builds on that bond of trust with team members.
- Doing what you say you will—One of the fastest ways to tear down trust is to say you’ll do something and not get around to it. Consistency is key as you build trust in your team. If you don’t feel that you have the technical, managerial, or other skills needed, get support. Don’t ever say you’ll do something though, and not follow through.
“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.” -Warren Buffett, investment tycoon
Start with Clear Outcomes to Build Trust
Another leadership improvement area to build trust with your team members: start with a clear goal. By defining the expected outcome, you’re more likely to keep open, clear communication with your employees. In turn, they are more likely to produce the results you want.
You would never show up at the airport and go to the ticketing agent with your passport but no idea of where you’re flying. The same is true in your business: communicating and achieving expected outcomes begins with clarity from leadership.
Remember the “Why” When Building Trust
Creating an effective business requires you, as the leader, to have a firm grip on the “why” behind everything you do. Don’t forget to reiterate this mission often to employees. Also, great leaders make sure that team members not only tap into the broad “why” but also form their own motivation.
It’s integral that everyone in each stage of the process clearly recognizes the five W’s—the who, what, when, where, and why—of everything they do, as an individual and a team. Equally important is the “how”—dedicated employees must know what goals they’re aiming at if they’re expected to arrive there.
Building trust isn’t impossible, even in today’s ever-changing marketplace. In fact, savvy leaders recognize that it’s more important than ever before.
Has it been a struggle to build or renew trust in your organization in the past few months? Leadership coaching can strengthen your skills, open new avenues of communication, and create better teams in your organization. Get in touch today for a complimentary consultation.