Building Trust As A Leader

Trust is vital to achieving results as a leader. After all, if you don’t have trust, it is difficult to get the support for your vision, plans or ideas.

So if you are a leader, how can you build trust as a leader?

    Don’t Fall Into The Seniority Trap

  • There may have been a time in the distant past where people would tend to trust you just because you were the most senior person. The reality is that those days are long gone so it is pointless to rely on this. Being a leader and having followers is nothing to do with the job title that you have.
  • Set The Tone

  • As a leader you set the tone for the whole department. By that I mean you set the expectations in terms of things like the way people behave, the way people interact with each other, resolve differences of opinions and solve problems to name just a few.
  • Find Out What Matters To Others

  • Ever notice that in every job interview you go to you are asked what motivates and de-motivates you? The trouble is that interviews are often the only time this question gets asked. Think about it; if you know what matters to people you can start to do things and behave in ways that focus on the things that matter to people.
  • Give Regular Feedback

  • Most people in the workplace crave feedback yet study after study shows that it is sadly lacking. Giving regular quality feedback to people gives a really powerful message that you care about them and their success.
  • Start Small

  • It can be really tempting to try and be too ambitious at the start. It is much better to break the overall goal into smaller steps. As each step or stage is progressed, it builds confidence and trust.
  • Be Honest With People

  • When leading a team or department there will be times when some difficult choices will need to be made. It can often be tempting to either avoid communicating or to make promises that cannot be kept. Broken promises will end up destroying trust.By contrast people may not always like the news that you are giving them but will respect your honesty.
  • Be Supportive

  • Allowing people to move out of the comfort zone with the assurance that they will be supported is a huge step to giving them a message that you trust them.
  • Don’t Blame

  • We have all if we are totally honest fallen into the trap of blaming others when things don’t go to plan. While it might offer in your own mind some sort of short term cover it will demolish trust, stifle creativity and dilute the results.
  • Hold People To Account

  • When it comes to managing or leading people, it is important to have accountability in place. This is not some sort of heavy handed approach but simply involves agreeing with people what they are going to deliver and then asking them to keep you informed (or to account) for what they have done and what they still have to do.Doing this consistently with the team and individually creates trust.
  • Listen A Lot

  • All of the best people that I worked with were brilliant listeners. When you focus your attention as a leader or manager on listening to others you get some real insights. People want to contribute and have the opportunity to do so. Listening does not mean that you have to act on every idea, concern or suggestion. At the same time people will respect you more. If you encourage and teach your people to listen effectively to others’ points of view you will build great team work and trust.
  • Do What You Promise

  • If you say that you are going to do or deliver something then make sure that you do it. People will use this as an indicator as to whether you can be trusted or whether it is all just talk.
  • Empower and Delegate

  • Delegating work to others not only provides opportunities for growth, development and challenge, it also sends a strong signal that you really trust your people.Empowering, where you give experienced people an outline of the result that you want, step back and let them get on with it is another great way of creating trust.
  • Stand Up For Your Team

  • There will be times when privately you are disappointed with your team. Maybe they have done a poor job on a project or in dealing with a disgruntled client. In these situations it is vital to make sure that you deal with the issues privately but still stand up for your team publicly.
  • Take Responsibility For Results

  • If you are running a department you will be well rewarded for taking on that role. At the same time, responsibility for the results ultimately is down to you. Maybe this might not seem fair but that’s the way it is. If you want to build trust, take responsibility for the results, whatever they are.
  • Give Recognition To Others

  • Good leaders and managers look to give recognition for the successes that are achieved. See yourself more as a facilitator of delivering great results and give recognition to others when things go well.

Duncan Brodie of Goals and Achievements helps accountants and health professionals to become highly effective leaders and managers. He invites you to  sign up for his free team leadership audio masterclass here

About the Author Duncan Brodie

Since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 6,000 accountants and professionals in workshops, seminars and one to one helping them land their next jobs and become better leaders, presenters and business partners. Before that I spent 25 years in accountancy climbing the career ladder from Payments Clerk to FD. I’m a CIMA Fellow, Certified Professional Coach and Team Coach Facilitator.

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14 comments
ngaybe pavel says 14 August 2011

thanks a lot the points helped, will try to keep a close implementation of those areas I overlooked.

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