What if I had a magic pill that would instantly make you a better leader?
You know, the kind people talk about, fondly, for years –even long after they’ve left the organization?
Well, that magic pill exists.
It’s called TRUST.
We all know when we don’t trust someone. But we don’t always know when someone doesn’t trust us.
Here’s a secret for every leader and aspiring leader: assume you ALWAYS need to build more trust.
Trust is the glue that holds together every single other action you’re taking as a leader.
So let’s dig into four strategies you can incorporate into your personal leadership right now that help you build more trust with your team–and even with yourself.
Four Leadership Strategies to Build More Trust
1. Know Your Values
What exactly are values, anyway?
Your values are the elements you believe are most important in the way you live and work. They are unique to you, based on what you care about and believe.
But if your values are just words on a wall, they’re worthless.
When asked, can you state your values out loud?
When I ask this question of leaders who are starting a coaching program with me, about 90 percent of them aren’t sure.
Once your personal values are clear, you can evaluate how often your actions and decisions support those values.
When the choices we make are out of sync with our values, we immediately lose trust.
2. Tell Your Failure Stories
You know you’re not perfect. We know you’re not perfect. Bridge the gap and don’t pretend.
A good failure story can change the direction of a business. Facebook famously had an intern named Ben who accidentally took down the site for 30 minutes while testing for bugs. He got hired, and some OG Facebookers still celebrate “BenTesting.”
Take a page from Silicon Valley and fail often and in public. The message that it’s safe to be imperfect accelerates trust.
3. Be Visible
Don’t hide behind your computer or smartphone. As more of our work is handled by remote teams, it’s easier than ever to default to over-efficient emails, texts and instant messages.
The truth is that visibility equals viability.
Person-to-person contact is still the gold standard for building trust, and voice-to-voice is a close second. Show up, be seen and heard, and start two-way conversations that feel human and real.
4. Be Consistently Repititious
Too often we abandon our core messages because we get tired of hearing the same thing over and over.
We assume others are bored because we’re bored of ourselves.
But to your customers, clients and colleagues, repetition creates a feeling of “ah, yes, I’ve heard this before, and so I can trust it.”
It feels safe, expected, and reinforces that you, as the leader, haven’t lost focus on what’s most important.
When we switch messages constantly—such as changing our priorities or talking differently about our goals—we generate more uncertainty and demolish trust in our words.
Do the work to get clear on what you’re all about as a professional, leader and colleague. Don’t get tempted by the latest cool idea, whim or fear.
When you are consistently you, trust will always be yours.