Category Archives: Building Trust

Trust Building Leaders


Image by Pink Sherbet Photography via Flickr

Building trust is a process that leaders can look at as a foundational activity. Trust is a complicated issue that goes all the way back to childhood, infancy even. An ability to cherish relationships and put trust in others is a powerful indicator that you value a relationship. Leaders should be subscribing to the innocent until proven guilty model rather than vice versa. You should put your trust in your team and let them prove that they deserve it rather than guard it and make it something to be earned. This will go a long way in gaining your team's respect. Kevin Eikenberry details this tactful trust model in the article below.

Everyone I’ve ever discussed the concept of trust with has a wide range of emotions related to it. While everyone wants more trust in their relationships, and believes that in an environment of higher trust they will be more productive, less stressed and generally enjoy their life and work more, we are often stymied, wondering how to reach these greater levels of trust.

Arriving at this conclusion comes from one basic mental model that assumes trust grows based on the other person’s behavior. This mindset is proven by comments like:

  • “They have to earn my respect.”
  • “I have to see that they are honest and dependable.”

When we see trust in this way, it seems to be outside of our control—we must wait for others to prove their trustworthiness in order for trust to build. 

…More at The Courage to Build Trust — Business Management Daily: Free

Leading with trust is something that takes time and courage. It is an effort to let yourself release a reactive trust model and envelop a proactive trust model. This effort will pay many dividends down the road in improved relationships that will flourish and can lead down many new paths. Leadership needs to understand this fundamental concept and embrace it to build a successful team. Leaders need to be building trust in the workplace as the foundation of their efforts.


5 Ways Leaders Can Build Trust in Teams

Half Dome Cables, Yosemite National Park

Image by SteveD. via Flickr

Every good leader understands the role of trust in relationships among co-workers but might not know what they can do to help build or even solidify that trust. Trust is essential to any relationship whether in or outside of the workplace. Trust must be gained to start laying a proper foundation of mutual respect and awareness. Leaders can help monitor the workplace environment and assess the level of trust among employees by having frank conversations with them or simply engaging their team in conversations and gauging the interactions that take place. Every leader can lend a helping hand to their team no matter what level of cooperation and trust your team may have. Here are five actions to do from Nan Russell to build trust.

1. Operate with respect. Respect is an essential trust building component. If you don't offer respect to others, why would someone give you their trust? The respect component operates as a transparent window giving others a glimpse of who you are. In the words of Malcolm S. Forbes, “You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who do nothing for him.” What are your actions communicating about you?

2. Eliminate the blame game. Finger pointing, assigning fault, or condemning others' mistakes diminishes trust. That ferret-out approach instills fear, not innovation; reduces engagement, not errors; and reinforces scapegoating, not accountability. But people who step up to accept their mishaps and acknowledge their mistakes build trust, enhance accountability, and enable future-focused solutions.

…More at Five Trust Building Dos | Psychology Today

Trust is greatly enhanced with active involvement among all parties and leadership should be providing the path to a respectful and trusting team. Leaders need to be aware of the relationships among their team and should monitor them to head off any problems before they occur. One way to do this is to routinely engage employees in trust building exercises that emphasize the five methods presented above. Leaders can take these five to-do items and put them in their toolbox for their next retreat or seminar as a way to build trust in their teams.


Leadership Must Build Trust in its Team

Harry Potter wants you to join him in helping raise $700 billion so the U.S. banks can remain open

Image by kevin dooley via Flickr

It is important that leadership build trust in their teams for a great working relationship. Trust is a difficult proposition in dire financial times. An ability to trust your team or your coworker is fundamental to success however. A trust survey conducted in 2009 reports that companies with the most trust in each other enjoyed the highest profit margins. Trust is a major driver of your business and you should do everything you can to build trust in and amongst your team. Andy Atkins writes for Fast Company about how leaders build trust to drive results.

Trust is a necessary component of successful leadership–leaders need trust in order to drive business results. Yet trust in business has been eroding for some time. Judging by many employee engagement scores, employees have been disengaging for at least a decade.

But there are important hopeful indicators–and some tangible, highly effective steps for building trust that leaders can take now.

…More at How Leaders Build Trust | Fast Company

He points to three specific solutions that will help build trust amongst your team to ignite their cooperation and nurture their trust in each other. Trust is based on performance and reliability so in order for your team to trust each other they must have a good working relationship where they work in sync and have the knowledge that they can count on their teammates to achieve results. Building trust in your team today is a win for team members, leadership, and the organization as a whole. What are you doing to build trust in your team today?


3 Leadership Tips for Building Trust

In her article at Small Business Trends, Diane Helbig shares examples of leadership being demonstrated (or NOT) on America’s Got Talent and Celebrity Apprentice. I had also noticed that Howard Stern has significantly changed the judging dynamic on America’s Got Talent. He acts like the classical manager, as if his decision is final. He doesn’t seem to recognize there are three judges. He often makes comments like, “You cannot go to the next step. I’m sorry.”

Howard Stern

Image by B.Norton via Flickr

If this were a business organization, and he was one of the managers, how would his actions affect the trust level on the leadership team?

Diane mentions another example, which I did not see, in which Arsenio Hall and Clay Aiken didn’t trust their team members to get the job done. Sounds like they micro-managed everything. Have you ever been micro-managed? How did you feel? What did it do to your creativity?

These two stark examples of a lack of leadership actually help us see what TO DO to be an effective leader:

1. Communicate the Goal and How Important the Teammates Are to Achieving it

This is something that should be done early and often. When people understand what you want to achieve, why it matters, and how they are a part of that process, they are more likely to work with you. Remember here that it’s about the goal – not about you or your needs.

When we keep our focus on the goal, we remove our egos and emotions. We are able to keep things objective and professional.

2. Empower Your Team in Decision Making and Taking Action

When you hire people or add them to your team, you are doing it because you believe they bring skills and abilities to the table. Let them use them.

Don’t micromanage; don’t order them around; don’t keep them on a short leash. You need them thinking and acting enthusiastically. That’s how you’ll get the most out of them. When people are contributing with the best of their ability, your team is stronger and your odds of success go up dramatically.

3. Seek Input and Ideas From Your Teammates

You know the saying, “Two heads are better than one?” It applies to this situation. You don’t have to have all the answers. I submit to you that you shouldn’t have all the answers. When you get your teammates involved in the ideas you get greater buy-in from them. Let them help you problem solve. They’ll be more committed to the outcome and you’ll be working smart.

…More at Leadership Lessons We Can Learn From Reality TV

These are important factors in building trust and bringing out the best in your team. The key is to let go the need to control everything. You’ll not likely “completely” let go that need, but pull it back to 80% letting go, and only 20% controlling and watch what happens.



Leading the Way to Loyalty

The Perfect Dog

Image by J. Chris Vaughan via Flickr

To gain the allegiance of our employees and ultimately our customer, it is important to start by leading the way to loyalty.

Leaders today talk a lot about loyalty, retention, and the business value of empowering employees to be brand ambassadors. Nonetheless, research literature and blogs abound which discuss the erosion of employee loyalty to the workplace, especially among Gen X and Y. The prescriptive leadership and talent management advice runs the gamut, from changes in compensation structures to more flexibility in work schedules, team building and more, all aimed at encouraging employee engagement with the employer’s brand. But the worry persists and with good reason: can the damage inflicted on employee trust by years of layoffs, pay cuts, IPOs and benefit claw-backs be overcome?…..More at 5 Leadership Behaviors Loyal Employees Trust

Loyalty like trust is easily lost and challenging to build. Yet loyalty is a key to success. A great example is Apple. Though they have a small percentage of the personal computer market, they have truly loyal customers. Part of this is the building of loyalty within their employees. So how can you create loyalty in your business?

Start by showing loyalty to those around you. Like trust, when it is given it is likely to be reciprocated. Show support for their goals and their needs. No, you can’t meet every need, but the compassion and understanding shown lets others know that you care, that you are loyal to them.

I challenge you to leading the way to loyalty in your business. Share your successes to help others in leading the way to loyalty!

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Success is the result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure, loyalty, and persistence.
Colin Powell

Leadership – Emotions

Sky symphony

In Leadership – Emotions are to be expected. The difference for leadership is that emotion may be more prone to anxiety from the weight of responsibility to those we lead as Peter Bregman points out beautifully.

. . . leadership is, as much as anything, an emotional adventure.

If you want to be a powerful leader, you have to become familiar with the sweat-inducing, anxiety-producing, adrenaline-generating emotions of being lost while people are following you. Because that is, as often as not, the emotion of leadership.

One of the defining characteristics of strong leaders is their ability to endure uncertainty and ambiguity. They are willing to move through shame and embarrassment and anxiety and fear. Those are the feelings of leadership as much as courage and persistence and faith. In fact, it’s because those feelings are ever-present that we need courage and persistence and faith.

It takes tremendous confidence to lead. Not the confidence of having all the answers — that’s arrogance — but the confidence to move forward even without the answers. You have to be capable of feeling awkward and uncertain without giving up. You have to believe that you and your team have what it takes to see yourselves through — or, if need be, to pick yourselves up and start again.

Here’s what not to do: pretend you’re in control. Because that erodes trust, increases your shame, and robs those around you of the opportunity to step in, learn, and help….More at The Emotional Adventure of Leadership – Peter Bregman – Harvard

What Bregman is getting at is the emotional intelligence needed to leader others. Leadership requires awareness of emotions in yourself and others. It needs to allow for effective communication to convey a forward focus while also addressing any elephants in the room effectively, mindfully, and openly.

The emotional response of the leaders can guide the emotional response within the business and its people. Leadership’s emotions are the scene setter. What scene have you set?

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