Be a High-Trust Leader: Three Elements of Trust

Yes, to build a successful business you need a compelling vision, a quality product or service, a marketing plan, access to capital, and more. The glue that holds this universe together however, is trust. 

Trust is what allows people to work together toward a common, shared result. Trust needs to be present before an opportunity to lead others in an authentic way can present itself. No trust, no leadership. For more about the fundamental importance of trust, read Arden Coaching’s blog, “Essentials of Team Performance: Trust.”

Several behaviors combine to create a sense of trust among employees and colleagues and help you build your leadership skills. Recently, we discussed three characteristic elements of trust (“Three Ways to Build Trust”). Let’s explore three more important elements of trust.

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The stereotypic image of a “leader” is someone who dominates the stage. A take-charge type who has things to tell you… Lots of things. They step into the spotlight, grab the microphone, and start talking. To build trust, genuine leaders do the opposite. They are great listeners.

Listen deeply. Discover what’s most important to those you lead and what ideas and perspectives they have. Never assume that you have all the answers — or even know what the questions are! For more, read “The Art of Listening,” by Arden Coach Danielle Siegel.

Be Real

Avoiding issues, sticking your head in the sand, and telling people what you think they want to hear erodes trust (also, read “Beware! The 4 Signs of ‘Under-Management’”). People trust leaders who tackle issues — especially the difficult issues — straight on. 

Acknowledge and communicate about whatever the topic might be. From poor performance and missed project deadlines to organizational budgets and layoffs, share what you can honestly. And stay focused on the issue at hand, not individuals. Lead with a high EQ. For more, read “Lessons Learned: Emotional Intelligence is Essential.”

Be Loyal

Loyalty can have negative connotations — blindly agreeing with or supporting people no matter what, or even excusing or covering up for the bad behavior of others. Leaders demonstrate positive loyalty when they recognize the work of others and give credit where credit is due. Loyal leaders keep confidences, and when they speak about others, they are very mindful of their intent — no talking about others behind their backs. For more, read “I’d Rather Work with Someone I Trust: Teams, Performance, and Trust.”

In fact, positive loyalty might be summed up in this way: always speak about others as if they were in the room with you.

For a full baker’s dozen critical leadership behaviors that effectively build trust, read “Thirteen Behaviors of a High Trust Leader.”

To learn more about improving levels of trust in your organization and building leadership capabilities, contact Arden Coaching at [email protected] or 646.684.3777.