Trust is earned and given to you by others. Therefore, in many instances, it takes time to gain someone’s trust. While I often provide this advice to new leaders, these are actions that any leader can take to cultivate trust. Let’s take a look at the four Be’s.
It is so easy to say what others want to hear, but providing honest answers even when it’s hard is often what is truly needed. While I see this more often with new leaders, I also see it in others – providing answers for the sake of providing an answer. Know that it is okay to say I am not sure, but I will find out.
Consistently doing what you say you’ll do builds trust over time.
Actively listen and check for understanding by paraphrasing what you’ve heard. Use a variety of feedback tools to ensure everyone has the chance for their voice to be heard. You should not be the one doing all the talking.
Be the Example
Nothing speaks more loudly about the culture of an organization or of a team than the leader’s behavior. If you say teamwork is important, reinforce the point by collaborating across teams and functions. Give credit when people do great work and you’ll set the stage for an appreciative culture. Don’t forget that while trust is earned, it is easily broken and must be maintained. Maintaining trust means that you must consistently follow and support the actions that you put into place.