Leadership Assessment: Elements of Trust All Leaders Must Know


As a leader, you always want people and employees in the organization to trust you.  Trust is the glue of all relationships and relationships are fragile. After all, you are in a position to make decisions for them and determine goals they must achieve. We need people to be able to discuss challenges, needs for support and confirmation of what is working well. Leaders have the biggest influence on organizational culture and every person in the organization affects the success of others by what they do and fail to do.  For any organization to run smoothly, employees need to know that their leader is indeed the right person to follow, not because of unpleasant consequences for disobedience but sincere respect and trust. Among many elements that affect the level of trust employees feel toward a leader, three of them stand at the top of the list.

 In order to leverage the diversity of strengths, talents and experiences of what each employee has to offer, leaders must remember to focus on these three key elements that build and maintain trust. We must remember that once trust is lose, it is difficult to earn back.  Where we put our focus, is where we get our results, so great leaders must focus on building and maintaining trust.

 How would your people rate you on a scale from one-to-ten for each of the following? How well do you think on a scale from one-to-ten do you think you do at each of these?

 Build and Maintain Positive Relationships – your employee doesn’t trust you just because you are their superior. However, any leader should be able to instill trust as long as one is willing to:

 ·         work on developing cooperation across different tasks with others

  • ·         stay in touch on issues that concern employees
  • ·         provide objective feedback in helpful manner, even when results are less satisfactory
  • ·         act as an intermediary in resolving conflicts in the organization

 People – or in this case employees – trust others with which they have developed positive relationships. It is much easier to trust a close friend than an acquaintance you barely know, for example.

 Utilize the Expertise in Tasks at Hand – in modern organizations where positions of authority are granted only to capable hands with reputable educational backgrounds and experience in related fields, it is safe to say that every leader really has earned the rights to lead. Such leaders have better chances of being considered trustworthy because they are more likely capable of:

 ·         providing invaluable ideas for or contributions to day-to-day operation and achieving goals

  • ·   anticipating problems and responding pro-actively
  • ·         giving advices to those seeking for counsels
  • ·         displaying good judgment in decision-making process
  • ·         coming up with good solutions to address immediate issues

 In other words, employees need a leader who has both deep technical understanding of how the organization is (or should be) run and real-life experience as a subordinate as well

 Be Consistent – employees want their leader to be consistent in work attitudes, communication style, approach to resolving conflicts, and sometimes general behavior too. While to an extent this makes a leader predictable, employees are aware of leader’s expectation as well as what is expected of them. Sense of familiarity on leader’s part helps nurture trust. Consistency is showcased if a leader:

 ·         leads by example or be the role model

  • ·         follows through on commitments
  • ·         keeps promises
  • ·         respects rules enforced for all regardless of positions

 An organization may go through changes big and small throughout the years, but leader must stay characteristically consistent to earn trust from employees. Rating yourself honestly and listening to feedback from your team about each of these can help you be the best you can be. We don’t always know what we do not know and must be honest about areas to be an even better leader.

 You don’t need to be perfect in every way to be an effective leader. However, the three elements discussed above should stand out among your other characteristics to earn healthy level of trust from employees. Trust doesn’t just happen; you have to earn it before you lead, and maintain it when you do. The road to reestablishing trust after you’ve lost it isn’t always straightforward, and often the efforts are much more taxing than acquiring it in the first place. The good thing is that you may not have to arrive at that point as long as you continue to engage with people from the framework provided with a focus on these three key elements that build and maintain trust.

Make good choices and have a great day! Only you get to choose how you feel about it!

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Dr. Paul Gerhardt is a skilled leadership and diversity trainer who builds customized workshops online or at your workplace. He is a tenured professor of management. He is a diversity and leadership well-respected and trusted trainer who helps organizations get amazing returns on their training investment. Visit www.SupervisionEssentials.com for more great free articles and to learn more about leadership effectiveness. Dr. Gerhardt is the author of several publications available on Amazon.com, including Diversity at Work, The Diversity King; Leadership Lucy and the Leadership Handbook. Consider inviting Dr. Paul Gerhardt to do customized leadership or diversity training at your organization. Most organizations find that diversity and leadership training by the right trainer yields a significant instant return on investment. You can get your FREE COPY of the Leadership Handbook by clicking this link: http://bit.ly/LeadershipHandbook



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