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5 Ways To Build Trust in Your Leadership at Work



Written by Heidi Alexandra Pollard Trust – it’s a term bandied around all the time when it comes to leadership and organisational culture and with good reason. Nothing builds a solid culture better than growing a cushion of trust and nothing harms an organization more than a lack of trust in those leading it. For such ... Continue Reading

Written by Heidi Alexandra Pollard

Trust – it’s a term bandied around all the time when it comes to leadership and organisational culture and with good reason. Nothing builds a solid culture better than growing a cushion of trust and nothing harms an organization more than a lack of trust in those leading it.

For such a simple, small five letter word, trust can often be challenging to develop and maintain in any organisation. But it can be done! Trust must begin from the top to be developed throughout an organization. If top management is not trusted it gives the perception that it is everyone for themselves and opens up rationale for building a culture of mistrust. In a recent video post I addressed the issue of trust and how critical it is in creating sustainable businesses.

Here are six steps to help you develop trust in your workplace:

1. TELL THE TRUTH

Leaders who are trusted tell the truth even when it is easier to lie or leave out facts.There is no such thing as ‘the’ truth. There is only ‘your’ truth so practice becoming a truth teller – the more you tell your truth up front, the less cleaning up you’ll need to do.

If there is a values statement for the organisation that includes any words about honesty, trust or integrity event more so – you need to ensure you act, speak and live those values before expecting staff to.

2. DO GOOD

When a leader does the right thing for the benefit of the whole organisation rather than their own personal agenda they are held up as examples of integrity for others to follow. This strongly reinforces an expansive culture of trust.

When a leader does what is convenient or beneficial for them and not for all it sets up a mistrustful, counter productive culture where staff feel justified to look out for themselves rather than doing what is most beneficial for the whole company.

3. BE CONSISTENT

A sure way to grow mistrust is when managers start saying one thing to the executive or board and giving a different message to their staff. This makes staff feel like they are being manipulated, treated like children and used to make their manager look good.

Build motivation and trust by allowing staff to feel to confident that you are sharing a consistent message regardless of the audience.

4. STOP WITHHOLDING

Withholding is like taking a razor blade to a company culture and all the relationships within it. Withholding is a breeding ground for catastrophising as in the absence of accurate and timely information rumors spread. Often the rumors paint a worse picture of the situation than would exist if the truth were told.

Withholding information gives staff the message that they are not to be trusted to know the truth and therefore sets up a culture of suspicion and mistrust that rumors will only feed and fuel.

5. CELEBRATE UNIQUENESS

One of the most common complaints we hear in workplaces is favoritism and unfair treatment. Treating everyone fairly, consistently and giving credit to those who deserve can be a challenge as we all have our own biases and personality preferences.

One of the challenges of leadership is to see beyond personal preferences and clearly see the unique value or UQ (uniqueness quotient) that each person brings to the organization. Imagine the motivation, engagement and cushion of trust you could build in your organisation by recognising and celebrating the UQ in every individual employee.

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