Behaviours of High Trust Leaders

As I have stated previously, having trust is an essential part of being a successful and admired leader. I would therefore like to talk about some behaviours that were identified by Stephen Covey of leaders who exhibit a high level of trust . There are quite a few items, and over time you should strive to achieve as many of these as possible.

  1. Talking Straight
    Essentially, this boils down to "Say what you mean & mean what you say". People tend to like it when you talk straight and not say what they want to hear. The believe that what you see is what you get and there is no "two-facedness" with them. It may be quite difficult to do, especially for earth greens who like to keep the peace, but it is an essential point to practice.

  2. Demonstrate Respect
    There are many ways in which you can demonstrate respect to your fellow team members. I often find that just doing simple things, as in the list below, can go a far way in showing high levels of respect.

    • Encourage members to speak their mind
    • Never put people's ideas down
    • Listen to what other people have to say before providing your input
    • Compliment them on their achievements
  3. Create Transparency
    People just don't like being surprised at the last moment. Often leaders think that they cannot be transparent as they will "lose authority". However, people want to be kept in the loop and by doing this you may even see some side effects such as being able to solve problems faster by having more minds on the problem and even building a stronger team.

  4. Right Wrongs
    In this situation, you know that you have messed up, or that people have an issue with you or your team. You need to make an effort to correct the situation by trying to identify that types of trust that where broken. You need to pro actively approach the people and say to them that they are looking to fix the issues of the past. You need to be the bigger person and not wait for them, even if they have done wrong in the past as well.

  5. Show Loyalty
    Loyalty is something that has to be earned, often over a period of time. In the work place you will frequently see that a person comes to you to complain about issues that have with another colleague. Instead of trying to solve the problem with them, go over to the other person and talk about it together. In this way, each person wont see you as being on the other persons side and you build trust and loyalty.

  6. Deliver Results
    In order build up functional & capability trust you need to demonstrate success, by translating your skills into results.

  7. Get Better
    People often want to see growth. They don't expect you to be perfect, and you can't be, but what they want to see is that you are improving. In doing this, they will trust you and be more willing to follow you as a leader.

  8. Confront Reality
    Believe me, teams are often looking up to their leader to see if they have the courage take things head on. If you don't, they lose respect for you as they see that you are afraid of the things that they to are afraid of, so what is the difference? When you are free from fear, you are consistent, no matter who you deal with. This is one of the big thing that many introverts, such as myself, struggle with.

  9. Clarify Expectations
    One of the worst things that a leader can do is to be very vague about expected of them. Then when it is time to deliver, you complain that they haven't completed the task as you wanted. A way to do this is to follow the delegation check list.

  10. Practice Accountability
    Some of the best teams are the ones which are accountable to each other. They tell each other when they "drop the ball" and don't have to wait for a manager to tell them that. That take the issues into their own hands and try to solve it.

  11. Listen First
    A leader should always try to listen first to a persons story, then you can explain your story where after we can come to a solution. Often leaders are to quick to tell and speak, which erodes trust.

  12. Keep Commitments
    As with delivering results, you need to keep to your commitments. If you don't do this you will lose trust amongst your team. If you are see that you wont be able to meet your commitment, then you need to be open and tell your team as soon as possible.

  13. Extend Trust
    This boils down to "trust breeds trust". If I trust you, you will trust me and so on it builds.

    The job of a leader is to extend trust first. The best leaders often go into a situation with a predisposition to trust, as opposed to not trust. Craig Weatherup said it best with his quote

    Trust cannot become a performance multiplier unless the leader is prepared to go first

So that wraps up this post. If you have any comments I would love to hear them below.

Until next time...keep learning!

Mauro Da Silva

Learning everyday about software development, leadership & self improvement

South Africa