Leadership Behaviors That Build Employee Trust

It is said that trust is a lot like oxygen. Everybody knows when its present and everybody can
feel it when it’s not. It is also the main reason professional (and some personal) relationships fail. Trust is reciprocal, like a two-way street or bridge built to future predictability.

If we had an analogy to financial markets, it would be like the Dow composite. The market is efficient and discounts sentiment about future earnings. If the market believes the potential for future earnings are good, then share prices go up. Likewise, trust is also a reflective of the potential for future relationship interactions. We have a sort of “moving” average for organizational trust commonly referred to as “engagement” surveys. While they serve a purpose, they are not taken nearly frequently enough to accurately gauge “organizational sentiment”.

          Below are 5 behaviors to consistently engage in to keep your “trust average” up

1) Tell the truth. All Teams have Super Stars, Rising Start, Sedentary Stars, and Falling Stars. The
Team is watching how the leader leads. Spend more time with those who are getting things done
and less with those who are not.

2) Communicate roles and responsibilities. Provide consistent timely and accurate feedback. This is feedback that is not based on “noise’ or “half” a story but that has integrity and gravitas.

3) Create a workplace culture that values relationships. Relationships are “currency” that business is transacted in. Focus on maintaining good ones, come what may, with those who are performers. It is the leaders job to ensure that this happens by creating time and space to make it happen.

4) Be fair and open. Operate transparently to the extent you can. People need to trust what they see. When they don’t things crash. Can you say Arthur Andersen? This means no hidden agendas or favoritism or perceived favoritism, Nip that in the bud. People respond well to a basic social contract of “transparency” providing is more than just talk.

5) Model the behaviors you seek. It is the leader’s responsibility every day to act to model the types of behaviors that support the Team’s Mission and Vision. This is what achieving success with both is all about and you as leader have a “fiduciary” responsibility to make it happen.