TSLH #048: 3 Elements of Trust

TSLH #048: 3 Elements of Trust

Read time: 4 minutes


First of all, my apologies for sending the newsletter #47 late. There was a glitch in the software I use and the email was not sent as planned last Saturday!
In many of my newsletters, I have said it again and again: The #1 thing a leader must do to have an engaged, accountable and high performing team is to create trust.
Over the course of my career, I can easily split the managers I had in 2 buckets: Those who knew how to create trust, and those who didn’t.
Creating trust seems like a daunting task to many leaders. They imagine there is some kind of magic that needs to happen in order for trust to appear and be present in the team.
In fact, creating trust is very straightforward.
It starts with this mindset: If you want people to trust you, start by trusting them. Unconditionally!
And then, there are 3 behaviors that you must demonstrate that will create and fuel the trust that people have in you as their leaders.
Create positive relationships. Alright, I am not telling you that must be best friend with everyone on the team or in the organization. That’s not the point. Rather, the point is that you are 100% responsible for the quality of the relationships you have at work, and when you have the right mindset to make every relationship a positive one, then you send a strong message to people that they can trust you, speaking candidly and openly about what they have on their minds.
Here are several things you can do to create positive relationships:
  • Use 1-1’s, team meetings and outings to stay in touch more personally with people, learn about them, about what makes them tick at work and in their lives. Make sure you understand people’s issues, concerns and challenges and coach them when needed on these. Practice the open door policy, letting people know that you are available for them.
  • Give honest feedback to the people: If you have something good to say, say it; and if you want someone to reflect on something they did badly, say it too in a way that will enable the person to learn and grow. Focus on feedback that is useful to the other person. And to double down on this, ask feedback about yourself. When people feel comfortable giving you feedback, it is a strong sign that they trust you.
  • Take your team together and work with them on these 2 important things:
    • Have the team design the ways they want to cooperate together, and the behaviors they will have and not have.
    • Have the team design the ways they want to address conflict or disagreement together, and the behaviors they will have and not have.
Demonstrate high credibility. There is no point in trying to build a team, create trust, and wanting to take the team to high performance if you are not seen as a credible leader. Being credible is mostly about exercising good judgment and expertise, and it is also about understanding what the leader knows and does not know, and making themselves vulnerable when needed by asking help and support.
Here are ways and behaviors that demonstrate your credibility:
  • You can anticipate problems and be quick to respond to them.
  • Your knowledge and expertise make an important contribution to the team’s efficiency and also to the results of the organization.
  • You need to show that you trust others with ideas and opinions. Being credible is not about knowing everything. On the contrary, it’s about knowing when to set a limit and openly say when you don’t know or when you need help to do something. Be vulnerable and ask for help.
  • Do what you say you will do: In essence, walk the talk, make sure people see you accountable for your commitments.
Lead with consistency. This should be no surprise: When someone acts consistently the same when similar situations occur, people know what to expect after a while, and this helps create trust. On the contrary, if a leader makes different decisions every time the same situation happens, it will be extremely hard for the people on their team to understand and anticipate what might happen, and this will add stress and frustration in the team, 2 emotions that act strongly against the creation of trust.
Here are things you should do in order to lead with consistency:
  • Explain your leadership philosophy very clearly to everyone: What are your values? What are your red lines? How do you make decisions? The more people know about this, the better the opportunity to create consistency and therefore trust there is.
  • Act as a role model and set the good example for everyone to see, i.e., by demonstrating yourself the values you want to see in the team.
  • Communicate more rather than not enough, to explain your decisions, to remind people of how you are consistent, to show that you treat each of your red flags the same way.
Creating trust in a team is the basic cement that will make your team a high performing one: Engaged, accountable, productive, collaborative. Without that cement, chances are you will have a very hard time connecting with your team, not to mention, this has the potential of derailing your career. There is no excuse for not trying the tips I gave above. All are easy to adopt and implement. They can have a profound impact on the performance of your team, and your success as a leader.

I wish you a great read. I’ll see you next Saturday!

TL; DR (Too Long, Did not Read)

3 elements of trust

  1. Create positive relationships.
  2. Demonstrate high credibility.
  3. Lead with consistency.

Whenever you’re ready, there are 3 ways I can help you:

1️⃣ Work 1-1 with me to step up as the authentic leader you aspire to be.

2️⃣ Hire me to help you build a high-performing team.

3️⃣ Start with my affordable digital courses on Mastering Difficult Conversations for Leaders and Goal Setting