We’ve all worked with people (including leaders and executives) that we did not respect. No matter how long we worked with them, and no matter how great our results were, there was something about them that stopped us from trusting them. This lack of respect leads to all sorts of dysfunction in the workplace. But, when people respect one another and can work well together, trust is built and that is the foundation of a high functioning team.
Many factors can impact your credibility and your ability to build trust, from small things like remembering to think of people and sending a thank you note to big things like being punctual.
If you want to develop trusting relationships, you’ll want to make sure that you’re covering a few basic techniques. Here are five things you can do to help you build trust and credibility as a leader in your organization.
If you say you’ll do it, then do it.
Some of us are good at planning and setting things up, but not so good when it comes to the follow-through. At some point, you have to stop talking and start doing or you’re going to lose credibility. If details are not your strong suit, then you’ll want to make sure that you have people you can delegate to so that the things you say you will do get done.
Own your mistakes.
We ALL make mistakes and it’s important to remember that mistakes are part of learning and improving. Whether you’re an employee or a leader, hiding mistakes is a sure way to lose trust, respect, and credibility with those you work with. But, as the leader, you also need to understand that when employees make a mistake the blame also falls on you. Leaders who want to have an impact know that accepting responsibility for the good and the bad builds trust and credibility with their teams, which is far more valuable than being right or correct. This doesn’t mean you stop holding your employees accountable. It means that you must also hold yourself accountable as the person who is responsible for how well your employees perform.
Be there for people.
Leaders manage people, not tasks. Employees who are micro-managed feel they are not trusted to do their work. Strong leaders allow people to experiment, take risks, and learn from failure as well as their own choices. Leaders manage employees by supporting them, their efforts, and their growth. They see their employee's strengths and celebrate when they do things well. This includes giving credit where credit is due, as a leader you can’t take credit when the whole team is contributing to success.
Be assertive, not aggressive.
Although this is something that varies culturally and even within industries, you’ve got to be prepared to stand up for your values, beliefs, and ideas. This does not mean you need to push your ideas or beliefs onto others. If everyone that you work with seems accepting of everything you do and say, chances are that they are afraid of telling you the truth about how they feel. You can avoid this by encouraging sharing of opinions, debate, and discussion as a way for everyone to learn and grow, and at that same time be clear about what you are and are not willing to accept.
Developing a powerful presence and having a personal impact on the things that you do does not mean that you become someone else or pretending to be someone that you’re not. Being yourself is about being accepting of your strengths and weaknesses and being willing to commit to ongoing development so that you can be the best person you can be.