I see this all the time in my work as a coach. Leaders who act honestly and genuinely are trusted to do the right thing. You see, when you are beyond reproach, people know your actions and decisions are not selfishly motivated; they don’t need to be suspected. If you live out truth and transparency, holding yourself accountable to everyone, your people offer you their trust.
Integrity also means giving of yourself for the benefit of your people. Trustworthy leaders place a higher priority on the welfare of those they lead. People know they are in good hands, with a noble cause underlying their efforts. Often that requires courage, another trustworthy trait.
If you want to raise your organization’s trust in leadership, the fourth element to evaluate is your humility. Leaders who treat their people with greater importance than self earn greater trust. They give credit for successes, rather than take it. They bear the heat for the disappointments, rather than blame their staff. Humble leaders also praise their people for their accomplishments, and allow them their chance in the spotlight.
If you seek feedback and ideas from your staff, and allow them to partner with you rather than be ruled by you, you will earn their trust. Your people will feel they contribute, and have the freedom to use their skills. This practice builds teamwork and unity; two themes people yearn for, yet statistically, rarely experience.
Leaders who admit they can always learn from others show their openness to value and trust their people. This generates trust in return. I agree with Rich Eich who points out in the American Management Association article, 5 Ways A Leader can Build A Culture Of Trust, that a leader who admits their mistakes displays humility. Employees are further encouraged to trust you if you also show how you’re learning from your mistakes. Your genuineness is displayed, and people sense a greater connection with you.
The primary leadership mindset needed to establish and build trust is a genuine focus on people through four basic elements: a helping hand, a spirit of appreciation, a life of integrity and a heart of humility. It’s been my observation that the level of trust you earn from your people is a measure of the connection they feel they have with you. Make your people top priority: you’ll build higher levels of trust in your organization and find more ways to succeed, over and over. Best of all, implementing them costs you very little, yet gains you very much. It’s the best ROI you’ll ever have!
What do you think? How has integrity and humility affected your organization’s trust in leadership? I’d love to hear from you. You can call me at 561-582-6060; let’s talk. And as always, I can be reached here or on LinkedIn.