This resource provides some insights into how you should approach the process of building trust in your relationships.
Engagement at the Speed of Trust!
Key steps to creating a leadership approach that naturally allows trust to be built include:
Each of these steps are explored in more detail below.
Trust is critical when leading others, either directly, where you are the manager, or indirectly, like in a matrix where influencing is the key skill.
Good managers can suffer when they get the trust dimension wrong; and most times it is not because they don't understand the importance of trust, it is because they expect trust to be given almost immediately. It does not matter that you have a great track record as a leader. It does not matter that you have immense pressure to get fast results. Neither give you the right to demand immediate trust. You are a stranger. Even if you are from the same organisation, and you are known, or some people have worked with you in the past, the fact is that new trust has to be built in the context of this new role. Being known as a colleague is much different than being known as a leader. There are different qualities and attributes required in each role.
So how can you build trust and honour the relationships you want to build?
Here are a few important things to remember:
Trust is earned, not demanded.
Trust is one of those elements that demand the respect of time and effort. Trust is after all about respect for the other person, or people, and the respect for that space that exists between you and the group you are either leading or seeking to influence.
Learn the structure for how we build trust.
If you understand that we all move through certain stages when developing a relationship, then you will understand the pathway to building trust. These stages move from being ‘withdrawn’ through ‘rituals’, ‘pastiming’ and eventually move to being ‘on task’. There are others, but these are the key building blocks. Honour these steps. Do not take short cuts.
Be aware of how your attitude and behaviour is impacting your relationships.
As a leader it is true that if you say one thing, whilst believing something different it will show. That’s because our body language, the tone of our words, the way we structure our sentence and the history of other conversations all add up to paint a different picture. In fact, think of the shady second-hand car salesman (no offence to the good ones!). Their words tell you that this car is perfect for you. But everything else about them screams “I only want your money!” And in the end your mind and intuition is telling you to “run away as fast you can!” The same principle applies in leadership. If you are in the role to look good, or to make others look bad, or perhaps for quick superficial wins, then this will come through loud and clear and push people away rather than draw them closer.
Don't use trust as a weapon or to threaten others.
If there is a need to do this then it is time to question your motives for being in the role. Threatening to remove trust, or questioning trust, is often a signal that no genuine intent to build trust exists from the beginning.
Finally, trust is not something that needs to be spoken of or made explicit. It is something will occur organically as a natural respect co-existing between two people or groups that has been earned. Aside from healthy results, you will know and feel when you are in a high trust team.
Which of these elements stood out for you...and why?