How to build trust…

As a leader, you want the people in your company to trust you. Not surprisingly, as we often read that trust is a leading indicator of whether others evaluate them positively or negatively. But creating that trust or, perhaps more importantly, reestablishing it when you’ve lost it isn’t always that straightforward.

Some research by Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman identified three behaviours that underlie trust, that leaders exhibit to increase the level of trust that others feel toward them.

  1. Positive Relationships.

Trust is in part based on the extent to which a leader is able to create positive relationships with other people and groups. To instill trust a leader must:

  • Stay in touch on the issues and concerns of others.
  • Balance results with concern for others.
  • Generate cooperation between others.
  • Resolve conflict with others.
  • Give honest feedback in a helpful way.
  1. Good Judgment/Expertise.

Another factor in whether people trust a leader is the extent to which a leader is well-informed and knowledgeable. They must understand the technical aspects of the work as well as have a depth of experience. This means:

  • They use good judgment when making decisions.
  • Others trust their ideas and opinions.
  • Others seek their opinions.
  • Their knowledge and expertise make an important contribution to achieving results.
  • Can anticipate and respond quickly to problems.
  1. Consistency.

The final element of trust is the extent to which leaders walk their talk and do what they say they will do. People rate a leader high in trust if they:

  • Are a role model and set a good example.
  • Walk the talk.
  • Honour commitments and keep promises.
  • Follow through on commitments.
  • Are willing to go above and beyond what needs to be done.
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