Category Archives: Leadership

What does trust have to do with leadership?


Loyalty-Integrity

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I once had an occasion with a leader, who was new to me, in which the circumstances required me to decide on the spot whether to trust without the benefit of a longstanding shared team history. What I saw in this man was unyielding integrity and loyalty to the whole team, which now included me. In my presence, he had only treated others with dignity and respect. His visible character allowed me to make a leap of faith to extend trust. In good faith, I was then able to bring forward the truth of a serious situation that had significant ramifications.  Prior to him, I’m afraid, the truth would have otherwise been complicated by the politics surrounding it.

So, the real question is, how do you build that kind of trust connection with your team? Leaders are forever in the spotlight and must remember that everyone is paying attention to your words and actions. If they see you take a moral short-cut because it will make something easier, you’ve lost. If they see you back-biting and tearing others down, they’ll wonder what you say about them when they’re not in the room. Treating others with dignity and respect is another visible means of judging one’s character. There is no escaping the reality that if they don’t see you acting with loyalty and integrity, building trust will be impossible.

Stop and think about what these components mean:

Loyalty breeds trust. It’s as simple as that. Merriam-Webster defines loyalty as “unswerving allegiance”.

Integrity can be boiled down to doing the right thing, every time, even when no one is looking. This consistent ethical and moral boundary is not only good for you and your team, but your organization benefits as well.

Dignity and Respect means that no matter the position within the organization, individuals deserve to be treated as valuable human beings. From laborer to CEO, your language in addressing them and making requests should remain the same. Leaders need to be consistent. Your behavior should not change just because certain people aren’t in the room.

What do these traits look like in a leader? When there is trouble, people know they’re not in it alone and that they won’t be thrown under the bus as an example to others; you have their back. Consistent accountability. The team is confident that it is safe bring a mistake forward and that redemption is possible. The team sees their leader deal only in the truth, most especially when it’s hard. Doing the right thing, consistently. Standing in the gap. Helping. Making individuals feel valued for doing a good job. Caring.

What does poisonous organizational leadership look like? If any of the following are a part of your team environment, building trust is unlikely: a lack of accountability, intimidation, closed-mindedness, manipulation, secretiveness, blame, individual attacks, power through fear, stifling creative problem solving or improvements, negativity, favoritism, or political land mines. The existence of any of these workplace toxins means that you have a leadership problem and you must work on yourself before you can build trust in others.

While man’s best friend, will overlook your shortcomings and the times you weren’t at your best, your team needs more than a quick pat on the head and tossing the ball to gain their trust.

What did your best leader do to build your trust? What did your worst leader do to destroy it?

 

Related Articles: 4 Secrets to An Empowered and Engaged Team

Cross-posted in LinkedIn

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The 4 Secrets to An Empowered and Engaged Team


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Photo Credit: Vicktor Hanacek

Achieving an engaged and empowered team has been the Achilles’ heel for enlightened organizations trying to climb out of the vestiges of command & control management. Leaders are told of the benefits of the engaged workforce, but it seems distant and unattainable. Each leader views the role with the lens of their own personality and the accumulated experience developed through exposure to other leaders, both good and bad, throughout their life. Considering the breadth of variable inputs derived from the individual leadership experience and personality, how can any leader achieve an engaged and empowered team?

Build a Connection to Inspire

Your team needs to understand what you value and know that they matter to you… genuinely. When you care about the individual hopes, dreams, and families of your team, they can see it. Don’t pretend. No one will be inspired by a disingenuous gesture. This will lead to active disengagement and no place you’d want to be. But, when you speak from the heart, your team can connect with you. This opens the door to cast the vision for the future, lay out the mission and inspire them to own their role in the future vision for your organization.

Individual Development

Just as leaders enter their role as the sum of their experiences, so do team members. Everyone is joining with a specific skill set, strengths and weaknesses. More importantly, they have different hopes and dreams. Not everyone desires to be a leader and others can’t imagine being anything but. While you’re building a connection, it’s important to learn about their hopes and dreams; where do they want to go in their career? The biggest demonstration of your sincerity is to create the opportunities for career development for current or future roles.

Trust

When the organization is steeped in the remnants of command and control management, it will require moments where you say, “I trust you to make the right decision.” By the time you’re having this conversation, you both should know where the guardrails are. This would have been preceded by a period of making the decision together so they understand what your inputs are and when they should reach out and consult vs. moving ahead. Eventually, let go.

Servant Leadership

Servant leadership stands out above all other leadership styles in the pursuit of workplace utopia because it “has a positive relationship with organizational citizenship behavior, job performance and staying with the organization” (DuBrin, 2010), it has its foundation in ethical values, and moves the organization forward to realize its goals. “Empowerment, authenticity, stewardship and providing direction” (van Dierrendonck & Patterson, 2014) define Servant Leadership. Only Servant Leaders “focus on the employee first, then on the talents of the employee, and lastly on how this benefits the organization” (van Dierrendonck & Patterson, 2014).

Initially, employees join the organization for the promise of a great future at work. They’re here, now what? People need boundaries, accountability, empowerment, inspiration and a vision. Most of all, they need to feel valued. When they’re truly engaged, they stay because their leader has made a connection and inspired them. So, willingly, they adopt the vision, the mission and join the tribe.

Have you ever been inspired, engaged and truly empowered at work?

 

Cross posted: www.linkedin.com/in/CariRay-MSML

References

DuBrin, A. J. (2010). Leadership (7th ed.). Mason, OH: South-Western/Cengage.

van Dierrendonck, D., & Patterson, K. (2014, February 13). Compassionate Love as a Cornerstone of Servant Leadership: An Integration of Previous Theorizing and Research. Journal of Business Ethics, 128, 119-131. doi:10.1007/s10551-014-2085-z

 

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