Effective leaders build trust

Trust is an important part of any relationship whether it’s personal or with a company we purchase products from. It’s absolutely crucial to have in the workplace between leaders and team members. Knowing that you have the support of your manager and that they’ll have your back when needed is high up on the list of what people look for in a job.

Establishing trusted relationships doesn’t happen overnight, but as a leader there are some key behaviours you can put into practice to start forming a connection.

Foster openness

Giving your team members an insight into your personality and sharing stories that resonate with them creates shared experiences and is a proven way to start connecting. These could relate to factors outside work, like a love for mountain biking or a shared passion for dogs.

In the workplace setting, opening up about times you have overcome challenges or mistakes can demonstrate vulnerability. Ensure that these stories don’t break the privacy of others involved however, as keeping confidences is also an important part of establishing trust.

Demonstrate proficiency

Team members trust leaders who are competent in their role and demonstrate this. While your team may not know all the tasks and challenges you deal with on a daily basis, communicating your proficiency demonstrates your knowledge, skills and expertise.

You can do this by helping team members with challenges by sharing how you dealt with a similar situation in the past. Keeping on top of trends in your industry or your specialty also shows your knowledge, while upskilling your team at the same time.

Embrace consistency

There's nothing more frustrating than a leader who constantly changes their mind or message. Ensure that your messages and actions are consistent

Being consistent with different team members is also crucial. Giving one person one message and someone else a different one can hinder all the good work you have done to gain trust. This will stand you in good stead not only with your team members, but within the wider organisation.

Communicate clearly

Many of us are being asked to do more with less, so respect for your team's time is important. When you're delivering a message or communication, be clear and brief. Not only does cutting through the fluff enable the main points to stand out, but you are also demonstrating that you are respectful of people's time.

Show appreciation

Feeling appreciated is integral to how positive and fulfilled people feel in their job. As a leader you can do this by showing that you can about your team. That starts by placing yourself in their position and asking yourself how you would like to be communicated to

Often something as simple as stating that it was a team effort and calling out team members for the role they played in a project’s success can go a long way. Email or verbal confirmation of a job well done, especially in front of others is an effective tool.

The above can take some time to implement, but once they become part of your skillset, you’ll see a more engaged and confident team, one that could be held up as a positive example of their own.

Author: Peter Robinson
Team Leadership Services