People follow those they trust.
As leaders, if we keep four practices at the forefront of our relationships we’ll be constantly building trust:
- Demonstrate sincere interest in others. We can be captivated by our own challenges, agendas, world and self. Make your interactions with others about them. Find the joy in understanding others and really getting to know people.
- Minimize randomness, maximize consistency. Life is full of unexpected events. Don’t let people’s experiences with you be unpredictable. Instead, be the reliable, dependable, even-keeled leader who others will seek to bring calm to chaos. When others trust you, they will share their problems with candor.
- Keep all commitments. Follow through on even the simplest of promises earns you significant credibility. Integrity is more than truth telling, it’s being true to what you have said you would do. Often, the first step to strengthen your integrity is limiting the commitments you make. We can do anything, no one can do everything well.
- Work for the “wow.” When was the last time you wowed your boss? How about your spouse? How about your best friend? Exceeding expectations in surprising ways is one of the most effective ways to build trust. To achieve the “wow” it shows you’ve paid attention to understanding and meeting someone’s needs in a meaningful way.
Teams are only as strong as the bonds of trust between the members. From work groups, to families, to our networks of friends and colleagues, the more we demonstrate trust-earning behavior, the greater our opportunities for leadership will be.