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7 Leadership Traits That Create Trust

Creating engaged employees by being engaging

There appears to be a backlash against all authority in the modern world. Governments and media have been roundly attacked, with the public rallying against ‘the establishment’. People simply don’t trust government and media to do the right thing.

If the 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer is correct, business could be next in line to face the backlash caused by mistrust. Almost two-thirds of the 33,000 survey respondents said that CEOs are ‘not at all’ or ‘only somewhat’ credible.

In this article, I explore the trait approach to leadership by outlining seven key traits that create trust. 

The importance of trust in business

The most successful relationships are those founded on trust. When trust disappears, resistance to change in the workplace increases. Collaboration is replaced by corporate infighting. Confidence is replaced by uncertainty. Innovation is replaced by stagnation. Trust is central to business success and longevity.

By employing the 7 traits in thier approach to leadership, C-level executives will secure the trust of their employees. That’s good for morale, good for individual and team motivation, and good for the business. 

The following seven key leadership traits will help you to develop and maintain trust in the workplace:

1. Communicate effectively by listening first

The first rule of conscious communication is to listen well. Learn to listen to what is being said, both verbally and non-verbally. Discover what they consider to be the most important issues and concerns, and address them individually and collectively.

2. Show that you trust your people

Let go a little, or, better still, a lot. Show your people that you trust in their judgement and their capabilities by allowing them to hold the reins. Back them to perform. Encourage them to be creative. Help them to succeed in the challenges you set. If the going gets tough or they fail in a task, instead of criticizing, help them to learn and improve.

3. Encourage transparency

Promote transparency in the workplace by sharing your ideas and values. Be enthusiastic to do so, and let your people know what it takes to succeed. Explain the future vision of the organization, and create an environment of engagement.

Be positive about yourself, the organization, its people, and opportunities for advancement. This energy will help to sustain dialogues, encourage innovation, and reduce staff turnover.

4. Be interested in your people

Your employees’ lives do not revolve around work. They have families, interests and hobbies that are of far greater importance. Show that you are genuinely interested in your employees as people, and that you understand that their home lives impact on work, and vice versa.

Support them in what they do outside of work. Be sympathetic to their personal situation. An hour of empathy can win you a lifetime of loyalty.

5. Be a career advancer

Show that you care about your employees’ professional lives as well as their personal lives by helping them to advance. Ask what they want, where they want to go, what type of work they feel they would be best suited to. Understand their motivations, and create a plan of action to help them achieve their personal goals. Meet and review progress regularly, and evolve the action plan to suit them.

6. Always do what you say you will

Nothing destroys trust more than going back on your word. Ensure you follow through on promises made. Of course, there may be times when circumstances change. If this is the case, communicate the change to your people, explain how and why plans have changed, and how this affects the delivery of your promise. They will understand. Whatever you do, don’t leave them in the dark.

7. Say “Thank you”

Show your people that you value their time and contribution. Say “Thank you”. Demonstrate your gratitude with a small gift – a meal at their favorite restaurant, a book by their favorite author, or a half-day holiday so they can watch their children in their first school play. You’re interested in your people and what makes them tick – what better way of showing your appreciation than a personalised thank you?

Contact Forward Focus today to discover how growing your emotional intelligence will provide the skills needed to inspire a fully empowered and engaged workforce.

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