There isn’t a characteristic more important to leaders than to build and maintain trust with others.
One of the reasons effective leaders are able to influence so many people is because people trust them. People may respect your knowledge and admire your experience, but they will still question your intentions if they don’t trust you. There isn’t a characteristic more important to leaders than to build and maintain trust with others.
It seems so obvious, but some leaders are terrible at building trust. I believe there are five habits that can build trustworthiness.
First of all, be consistent. Life and leadership come full of curveballs. But, it’s how you handle them that matters. Develop a set of principles to live by so you can lean on those during times of uncertainty.
You have to be open. You don’t always have to be the expert in the room. Being open to another person’s ideas is really a quick way to build trust – with them and those around you who are watching.
Admit to mistakes.
Be humble. Every leader is going to make mistakes, but you have to be ready to admit to them and then move on. Some leaders are good at finding what’s broken around them but are unable to see the brokenness in themselves. The truth is you have to fix yourself before you can begin to fix what’s broken around you. Always be aware of your internal state.
Have a purpose.
The fourth way to build trust is to really be hungry. People trust people who have a purpose. That drive and ambition will create momentum that people really will want to join and be on board with. That energy is contagious.
You have to be real. You may wear a suit and sit behind a big desk, but you’re still a real person. Don’t lose sight of that. Be transparent. Be genuine and authentic, especially in your relationships as a leader. Never ever lose your ability to connect with others. The best way to do that is through vulnerability.
People are the reason the concept of “leadership” exists. If you’re going to be an effective leader, you have to be reliable and trustworthy. Be the leader you always wished you had worked for, and you’ll discover others are willing to do things they never believed they could because they trust you.