Leadership Power Tools: Trust

Maintaining an emotionally healthy workforce has been a difficult challenge for leadership over the last two years.  Many of the emphasis on avoiding burnout and traumatic stress has been at the employee level, often in the form of reminders to exercise better self-care and build resilience.

There is much more that can be done to effectively protect the workforce from burnout and traumatic stress when leaders focus on the quality of the work environment.  One factor that is critical to a healthy, sustainable workforce is trust between workers and leadership.

Brian Tracy, author of the book, “Eat That Frog!” states, “The glue that holds all relationships together – including between the leader and the led – is trust, and trust is based on integrity.”

How can a leader build a greater sense of trust among the team members?  Here are some tips from the leadership world that you can put into practice no matter where you are in the “chain of command.”

  • Shift from hierarchy to community by connecting employees to each other and to you.  Find ways to increase a sense of belonging and security as well. These connections help to cement a solid team identity
  • Trust your team members.  Trust is reciprocal, and the fastest route to being trusted is to trust others.  Again, this is the glue that bonds a good team.
  • Give voice and recognition – ask for opinions and ideas, listen well, and put ideas into practice.  Give credit for accomplishments, and recognition or their part in successes.
  • Follow through on promises and commitments – a critical trust factor that cannot be ignored.
  • Admit your mistakes and missed opportunities, accepting and acknowledging the impact these may have on the team and individuals.
  • Value everyone on the team and make that valuing visible in your day-to-day interactions.
  • Be inclusive on many levels, including race, culture, and identity.  Remember to be inclusive in work processes as well; include more team members in planning and problem-solving, and spread your time for personal interaction evenly among team members.
  • Be honest in everything, including admitting when you don’t have an answer or solution.  Honesty builds trust, even when the situation might be awkward.  Admitting your lack of knowledge on a topic, along with acknowledging when others have that knowledge, makes you a “real person” on the team.
  • Invest time getting to know all the individuals on your team, as much as possible.  This communicates their value to you and gives you opportunity to build bridges to individual team members.
  • Help out at work.  Simon Sinek, in his book, “Leaders Eat Last,” drives home the importance of leading as helping and participating. Leaders who do the heavy lifting with the team, who join in to do the dirty work, and who serve the team regularly are those who earn the trust to lead.

Image via nomoretax.eu

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