Trust - The Most Vital Component in Leadership
"Trust is the emotional glue that binds followers and leaders together."
- Warren Bennis and Bert Nanus
"If you don't believe in the messenger, you won't believe the message."
- James Kouzes and Barry Posner
I see it all the time - leaders who blame followers for breakdowns in the organization. I often hear complaints like these:
- "If those people would just do what I tell them."
- "You just can't find good workers today."
- "Why won't these people get onboard with what needs to be done?"
- "Why do they complain all the time?"
Each of these leadership laments focuses on what's wrong with the follower. Each concern excludes leadership responsibility as a source of or contributor to the breakdown.
I see employees who won't do what needs to be done, or, at best, perform at a bare minimum level. I see team members who drag their feet on new procedures or work practices. I see workers who do just enough to get by.
I see these behaviors and I ask myself - what's the problem?
When I get the opportunity to discuss the issue, I usually hear at least some component of violated trust. I hear people say that they want to perform at a higher level, but they don't trust that they will be recognized or rewarded. I hear people concerned that they'll be penalized if they speak the truth and identify the real problems in the organization. I hear people who have been beaten-up by current or previous leadership. All signs of violated trust.
Creating an environment of trust is a tricky issue. People carry past hurts with them. Some people expect more from their leaders than they are willing to give themselves. Leaders do things that unintentionally confuse or scare people. Some people just don't want to trust organizational leaders. But, regardless of the past or current situation, the responsibility to build trust lies first, and foremost, with the leader. It's not always fair, and it's not always easy. But it is always the leader's responsibility.
Trust is the foundation for every successful leader's accomplishments. When people don't trust the leader, they won't follow very far.
How do you, the leader, address the issue of trust?
Entire books have been written about trust, but, for the purpose of this article, I'll stick with two quick tips.
The first comes from the book, The Leadership Challenge. In their survey of leadership behaviors, James Kouzes and Barry Posner asked the question, "What do you look for in a credible (i.e. - trustworthy) person?" The number one response - "They do what they say they are going to do." So, trust building tip number one - do what you say you're going to do.
The second idea comes from the world of social psychology. Social science researchers have identified a key behavioral principle that affects the development of trust. This principle is known as the Principle of Reciprocity. The Principle of Reciprocity states that we tend to feel obligated to repay in kind what someone else has given to us. In a nutshell, it says that if you want trust, you must first give trust. Trust building tip number two - show people you trust them if you want them to trust you.
Trust issues almost always come back to the leader. It's possible that you can have isolated trust issues with just a few people. In this case, it may be just their personal problem. If you find yourself or if you hear someone else asking the questions at the top of this page - look out. You may have a systemic trust problem. If that's the case, your team is either in trouble or it's about to be in trouble. Carefully evaluate what might have happened or might be happening to damage trust and immediately start applying the two tips above to begin the repair.
You may use this article for electronic distribution if you will include all contact information with live links back to the author. Notification of use is not required, but I would appreciate it. Please contact the author prior to use in printed media.
Copyright 2005, Guy Harris
Guy Harris is a Relationship Repairman and People-Process Integrator. His background includes service as a US Navy Submarine Officer, functional management with major multi-national corporations, and senior management in an international chemical business. As the owner of Principle Driven Consulting, he helps entrepreneurs, business managers, and other organizational leaders improve team performance by applying the principles of human behavior.
Guy co-authored "The Behavior Bucks System(tm)" to help parents reduce stress and conflict with their children by effectively applying behavioral principles in the home. Learn more about this book at http://www.behaviorbucks.com
Learn more about Guy at http://www.principledriven.com
This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news
Build competitive advantage through servant leadership & continuous improvement - Philadelphia Business Journal
The Code of the Conference Leader
Are your meetings generally a waste of time? Do you have trouble getting commitment on the decisions made? The following information is based on "Conference Leadership", an atypical Marine Corps publication that is no longer available to the public (as it has been incorporated into a sensitive and restricted document.)The publication details a method of achieving results from groups and meetings that was far ahead of its time, originally published in 1947.
UNCLOS III Process model
The United Nations Conference on Law of the Sea was ground breaking in the way negotiations were conducted. Several strategies were employed that allowed for efficient negotiation and a reasonable outcome as viewed by all participating parties.
Managing Monsters in Meetings - Part 7, Personal Attacks
Personal attacks hurt people, mar communication, and end creativity. If they become part of a meeting's culture, they drive the participants into making safe and perhaps useless contributions.
The Defining Moment: The Straw That Stirs The Drink Of Motivational Leadership (Part Two)
In Part One, I described the importance of establishing deep, human connections with people you lead. I said there were three ways to do that, by communicating information, by making sense, and by having your experience become their experiences.
10 Smart Ways Leaders Can Bring Out the Best in Others
You are a leader. Everyone is a leader.
Choose Your Best Life: Where Are Your Choices Leading You?
According to the dictionary choice means "to select freely after consideration, to have a preference for, to take an alternative and of high caliber." Based on this definition, I believe choice is the act of careful selection, identifying preferences and exploring quality alternatives that lead to freedom.
The Compassion Paradox
Effective leaders are comfortable with paradox. They can call on skills and work in ways that seem to be contradictory.
To Be An Effective Leader, Do A Check-up From The Neck Up
Before we can effectively lead anyone, we must take an introspective view of ourselves. We must do a check-up from the neck up.
In Leadership, Dreams Are The Stuff That Great Results Are Made Of
Leadership is motivational or it's stumbling in the dark. The best leaders don't order people to do a job, the best leaders motivate people to want to do the job.
Leadership Is Power: Test Your Ethics
"The payoff for the ethical person is a reputation for honesty. It's a payoff that makes every undertaking easier and attracts unsolicited opportunities.
The Incandescence Of The Human Spirit
There lives within every individual a power, an energy, an incandescence of spirit that is being constantly held in check, like a dimmer switch turned way down.A lifetime of being told: "we are nothing special; to stand out is egotistic and wrong; to conform is necessary; to be different is bad; the collective good must be served even to the determent of our own being; we must support; we must never defy; to question authority is inherently evil; the majority is always right; don't rock the boat;" -- creates an habitual thought pattern of lassitude, often leaving us without any sense of our ability to make a substantial difference and therefore with no real sense of urgency.
Leadership Lessons from Pope John Paul II
"Heroes are rebels with a cause. Rebels because they challenge the traditional ways of thinking and refuse to follow the herd.
To be, or Not to be (Average)?
When is hate OK? When it's the feeling you have toward average. Let me make this point clearly and without reservation.
Leadership for the Successful Entrepreneur!
Why talk about leadership?"Leadership is important whether you a leader of a team or are a sole proprietor with no one working for you. Effective leadership is actually a way of thinking, a way to get things done.
8 Questions to Ask if You Want to be a Better Leader
Those that have successfully made the transition from manager to leader have found the importance of continuously asking questions. Constantly receiving feedback from front line workers enables aleader to understand what is going right and where improvement is needed.
How To Party Like Leonardo Da Vinci
After studying scores of great thinkers like Leonardo Da Vinci, I think I've stumbled upon what really set them apart from the rest of the folks living (and thinking) at the same time.It's remarkably simple.
Leadership and Power - Being the Boss Doesnt Guarantee Either of Them
Some people mistakenly associate supervisory positions, or seats of power, with leadership. They presume that these two things are synonymous.
Ask Yourself Whats In It For WE?
"Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress.
A Whack Up Long Side The Head Of Human Resources: The Leadership Imperative
When we perceive the simple center in the seemingly complex, we can change our world in powerful new ways.Albert Einstein perceived the simple E=MC2 in the complexities of physical reality and changed the history of the 20th century.
Leadership and Followership in a Team Setting
Many solopreneurs work in a team environment either with their client's staff, or with subcontractors. Having spent over 20 years in a teaming environment before becoming a solopreneur 13 years ago, I know that during the course of any highly functioning team effort, the leadership and followership roles flow back and forth between the members.
|home | site map|