A strong culture depends on an environment of trust, where people can count on each other, take risks together and benefit from the resulting successes. Leaders who inspire authenticity entice people to step out of their comfort zones and enjoy the spirit of cooperation.
Leaders enhance trust when they’re transparent and humble. Display humility by expressing a need for help. People are drawn to leaders who are willing to exhibit fallibility. Admitting weaknesses and setting aside insecurities reveal a real person who can be trusted.
Why does this matter? Trust builds teamwork, which inspires cooperation and a vital interconnectedness. Trust is founded on relationships—and the stronger the relationships, the healthier the culture. Once again, leaders can benefit from the assistance of an experienced leadership coach to optimize their people skills and relational intelligence.
Great leaders are comfortable dealing with subordinates when problems arise. They approach difficult situations and challenging employees face to face, with care and honor. They’re firm but fair. Trusted leaders prioritize relationships and make sure employees feel appreciated.
Leaders gain employees’ trust through active listening. As a coach, I love to see this in action. When you thoughtfully address people’s situations and allow them to speak freely, you cultivate greater trust.
Giving honest feedback to employees further raises the trust bar. Be candid, sincere and helpful. As Daniel Coyle suggests in The Culture Code (Bantam Books, 2018), provide “targeted” or specific feedback. People want to contribute the best they have to offer and be valued resources. They need detailed critiques and a chance to earn your approval. Avoid judgmental comments so you can nurture their self-esteem.
High self-esteem allows employees to show initiative and avoid the need for continuous oversight. The best cultures feature self-directed teams whose leaders interject only when necessary. Employees become more invested and engaged in their work, which makes for a strong culture.
What do you think? How do you train to trust? Do you demonstrate active listening? If you would like additional insight into your leadership behaviors, or simply want an opinion, you can reach me here and on LinkedIn.