Making trust a leadership habit
In a moment dominated by fake news and post-truth noise (I assume it’s a moment) trustworthy leadership has never been more important…to the people we lead and the communities we serve.
We can and must all play our part. So here are the three things I think are really important if we are going to make trust a habit to ensure a committed and engaged team in a strong and vibrant organisation.
- Start at home…and by that I mean trust starts first and foremost with self so we need to know to what extent we trust ourselves, in what situations and with whom. Then it’s not about avoiding those situations or people but developing the capabilities, strategies and mind-set that build self-trust.
- We need to think about what others experience. We can ask them of course and the quality of their answer may tell us much about what they experience of our trustworthiness or our ability to extend trust to others.And if we self-examine, what will we find? All our promises and commitments kept unequivocally or more of a ‘sometimes yes, sometimes no, it depends’ scenario? This isn’t about only making low grade, easy to deliver commitments. It is about being clear what we can and absolutely will deliver and where it really does depend on other factors. Often we fail because we haven’t truly thought through what’s involved or communicated the realities.
- Then there’s the big question about how we extend trust to others, whether we lead with it or play it out little by little, expecting it to be earned. In organisation terms the ‘earn it’ approach may seem more prudent and makes us less vulnerable, more in control.As leaders, though, we can do this in a more mindful way by looking for opportunities to extend trust rather than control. That’s about setting people up to succeed with work, projects, opportunities that will stretch them enough to develop, engage them enough to commit and make evident our trust in them.