Leadership for Life – Building Trust

By on March 1, 2012
Building Trust

Our Leadership experts will be sharing tips and insights for everyone, at any station in life, at both home and work. Leadership for Life – the skills you embrace represent who you really are at all times.

One of the most important things a leader can do is to get good advice. When seeking advice, one should turn to experts, and in the work place, the best experts are generally the people who do the job every day.

Leader (speaking to employees): As you know, we will be moving to a new facility in about six months. I want to take this opportunity to share my ideas for the new work space layout and get your input on what you think should be included. After all, you are the people who will be using the space, and you’re the best authorities on how it should be designed. I should also add that regardless of the merits of your ideas, we will still have to take our budget and the advice of the architects into consideration, so you might not get all the “toys” you ask for, but we’ll do our best to ensure that your ideas are given serious consideration.

This kind of statement demonstrates the leader’s trust in the abilities of the employees to provide expert advice on a very important issue. It also models the leader’s honesty in setting limits on what can be enacted because of real world considerations.

Taken as a whole, this leader’s presentation demonstrates both transparency and trust in employee’s input, and thereby builds trust and engagement among employees.

The basic rule for building trust in an organization is to share your own thoughts, feelings, and rationale on issues that affect employees. When people can see what’s behind your decisions and behavior, they feel more comfortable with their working environment, even when it’s not “perfect.” Keeping secrets, having strict “need-to-know” policies, and springing surprises on people are the recipe for suspicion and distrust within organizations.

Do you have any examples of how leaders you have known demonstrate their trust in employees? Send them to me at bschapiro@stlcc.edu, and I’ll feature them in a future post.

About Barry Schapiro

Barry is the Workforce Solutions Group Practice Leader for Leadership and Professional Development. His experience includes delivery and management of business training in a variety of industries, with specialties in leadership, team development, generational diversity, and customer service. Twitter

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