Author Stephen Covey defines trust in a simple and clear way—the “confidence born of two dimensions: character and competence.” He describes having low trust as a “hidden tax” on every interaction and transaction, which gets in the way of results and raises costs.
As a leader, trust starts—or stops—with you. Trust is contagious. When you trust others and demonstrate that you can be trusted, it sets into motion an expectation and opportunity for others to trust and be worthy of trust in return. If you distrust, then others will.
This plays out in every day scenarios that can build others’ trust in you and ultimately elevate your impact:
- When you collaborate with others across teams and functions (and avoid silos and turf battles), you signal to your team to do the same and work will get done better and faster (not to mention more peacefully).
- When you keep your promises—whether seemingly significant or small—others will, too.
- When you give credit when others do great work, they’ll appreciate you for it and follow suit.
- When you admit that things went wrong or didn’t turn out as you had planned, they’ll see you as accountable, credible and focused on being better—and they’ll follow your lead.
One more thing about building trust—it’s a lot easier for people to trust you when they know you and see you. There’s a saying that the only difference between leaders and Elvis is that Elvis has been spotted. Don’t try to lead from behind the desk—it doesn’t work. Walk the halls. Have lunch in the lunch room. Keep your door open. Strike up a conversation. Let people see you and get to know them—and let them get to know you.
In what ways are you building trust with your teams?
- David Grossman
Learn more about connecting with employees in the new 2nd edition of You Can't NOT Communicate.