I wrote recently about how trust is the foundation for everything in leadership. So what as a leader can you do to build trust?
It’s critical that your team members trust you, that you trust them, and that they trust each other. So here’s some simple things you can do, and that when consistently done over time, will build trust.
Be reliable: Consistently do what you say you will do. Over time, this is the biggest way you will build trust. And conversely, not delivering on what you promise is the biggest way you can break trust. But if you continually match your deeds to what you’ve committed to in words, other people will begin to trust you. They will be able to predict what you will do, and have a strong measure of faith that you will always honour your promises.
Be interested: Show interest and concern for your team members. If this is genuine, then over time it will lead to them reciprocating with interest in you. And this shared concern becomes a basis for trust. Even the most hardened opponents can be worn down by concern. Nelson Mandela showed consistent interest in the life of his gaoler on Robben Island. Eventually, his gaoler came to trust Mandela more than he trusted his own prison bosses and colleagues.
Be vulnerable: Reveal something of your own world, and your own struggle. Being open about your own weaknesses and struggles can be hugely disarming. You don’t want take this too far obviously – no one wants to follow a leader who claims to be incompetent. But by sharing personal information, and by making yourself vulnerable, you can build a platform for further trust.
Three simple things you can do to build trust. Do them consistently over time, and your team members will begin trusting you more. Which will you start to implement first?
Mark Williamson works as a director of One Rock. He’s an experienced leadership trainer, author of biographies on John Wesley and William Wilberforce, and is also passionate about praying for London. He enjoys good films, good food, and going for long walks with his wife Joanna. You can follow him on Twitter @markonerock.