Leaders, develop trust among your team members

Among all the attributes of the greatest leaders of our time, one stands above the rest: They are all highly trusted. You can have a compelling vision, rock-solid strategy, excellent communication skills, innovative insight, and a skilled team, but if people don’t trust you, you will never get the results you want. David Horsager

Here are some characteristics of trust.

Trust is earned; you can’t buy it or obtain it through coercion.

It takes time for trust to develop and it doesn’t come quickly. When you assume a new position of leadership, your good reputation of being trustworthy may help jumpstart the trust factor with your new team members but inevitably they will need to see you in action and to experience, firsthand, your trustworthiness; and that takes time.

Trust is built and maintained by hundreds of small and large actions over time.

Every decision you make and every action you take either adds to or subtracts from your “trust account.”

In leadership, trust is built on two pillars: character and competence.

To be a trustworthy individual, only one is needed: character; but to be a trustworthy leader, you must exhibit both character and competence.

Character includes two areas and six attributes:

Your intentions must be:

  • Caring – people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care
  • Transparent – don’t have hidden agendas or motivations
  • Open – don’t withhold critical information

Your integrity is demonstrated through:

  • Honesty – be truthful and straightforward; don’t lie, cheat, or steal
  • Fairness – being fair is not treating everyone the same, but treating each individual as he deserves
  • Authenticity – Luther Price succinctly said, “Be what you is, not what you ain’t; ’cause if you ain’t what you is, you is what you ain’t.”

Competence includes two areas and six traits:

You must demonstrate capability through:

  • Skills – do you have the necessary skills for your trade?
  • Knowledge – do you understand the basic principles of what makes your organization work?
  • Experience – is your knowledge only theoretical or has it been proven experientially?

People will trust your results because of your:

  • Reputation – the sum of all your work and leadership experience.
  • Credibility – reliability; your ability to produce over time.
  • Performance – do you consistently prove your ability to “Get ‘er done.”

Trust alone won’t make you a great leader, but without trust you will never be one.

[reminder]What are your thoughts about this essay?[/reminder]

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6 Replies to “Leaders, develop trust among your team members”

  1. Thanks Don, another timely message. Words without corresponding actions are hollow, weak, lame. As James teaches us, real faith works! (James 2:14-26)

  2. Don, I often teach from 1 Timothy 4.6-16 a triad of competence, character, and calling that a balanced leader should exhibit. The nearest to it in the literature is when Kouzes and Posner in The Leadership Challenge and Covey in his works talk about finding your voice. I think if a person’s actions stem from his passion, his calling (vocare, to call, vocation), it engenders trust because I know that emanating from the person is authentic, it is compelled by his calling or his genuine “voice.” In recent years I have added another “C” in using Culture, since leadership does not exist without a context. If I enter the culture of an organization and don’t acknowledge how deep and pervasive it is, and don’t give it its proper respect, it makes it difficult for the organization’s members to trust me. I have found this to be especially true here in Appalachia. My degrees and experience don’t count for much until I have demonstrated I have a genuine appreciation for the values of this region.

    1. Allan, I love the way you think.
      Your suggestion to add two more “c’s” is a good one: Calling and Culture. Brilliant. I am so glad we are friends.

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