Trust: It’s (NOT) All About You

Trust is basic to leadership. Without trust, people watch their backs and look out for their own immediate interests. Without trust, there is no “leadership” in any true sense of the word — you must rely on your job title, blunt force, and fear to get anything accomplished.

What does it mean to build trust? The “Trust Equation” offers a conceptual framework that identifies trust’s major elements and helps us work on building trust with our colleagues:

TRUST = C (credibility) + R (reliability) + I (intimacy) / S (self-orientation)

For more, read Arden Coaching’s blog, “The Most Important Element in the Trust Equation.”

Note how “Self-Orientation” impacts everything else — it’s the denominator of the equation. And on a scale of 1 (strongly other-oriented) to 10 (strongly self-orientated), the lower the number the better. 

So, how much of your work is really all about you? To what degree are your leadership efforts, your strategies, your goals and your objectives concentrated on your own accomplishment and your own achievement? And how much of your work is really about helping your employees, your team, and your organization maximize their potential and perform at their highest levels?

No matter how skillfully or cleverly it’s done, people have a remarkable ability to sense when someone is the type of person who is “out for themselves.” Seek to frame your work in ways that ask:

  • What can I do to clarify goals, objectives, and strategies for my team, to help them understand how their work connects to the greater organizational good?
  • How can I lead in ways that add long-term value to my organization?
  • How can I handle conflict in a way that helps everyone more forward together?
  • When we encounter challenges, how can I encourage resilience among my employees?
  • How can I be a resource for my employees to help them do great work and become their best selves?
  • How am I balancing accountability and recognition among my employees?
  • In what ways can I personally relate to the individual — not the job title — on my team?

As you evolve your mindset to become more “other-oriented,” and work through questions such as these, you will build genuine trust. It’s a bit Zen-like — the less you focus on yourself, your needs, and your own success, the more successful you will be as a leader!

To learn more about providing feedback, communication skills, and improving your leadership skills, contact the executive coaches at Arden Coaching at [email protected] or 646.684.3777.