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The 5 Pillars To Support Trust In Leadership - Part 1
May 17, 2021
Trust has become a popular topic during the pandemic - specifically, a loss of trust. With many people working remotely, it has been difficult for employees and leaders to build a trusting relationship. Even though Zoom and other teleconferencing systems allow us to do face-to-face meetings, eye contact is never perfectly aligned. The opportunity to shake hands and read body language is lost.
Deloitte recently wrote that for “resilient leaders who seek to shepherd their organizations and stakeholders safely through the COVID-19 crisis, trust will be more critical than ever, as recovery without trust rests on shaky ground.”
Developing a trusting relationship can help create more balance in your work and personal life. In this two-part series, we will further define the five pillars that must be available for trust to exist and survive. This month, we will cover Honesty, Openness and Integrity.
CAN WE BE HONEST?
Being honest is a key pillar to build trust. Ask people if they have ever lied and most likely they’ll deny it. Meanwhile, studies cited in Psychology Today report that people lie on average twice every three days.
Honesty isn’t only about not lying or intentionally trying to deceive. Honesty includes a thorough and immediate sharing of important information. A client came to me seeking to make a change because her boss would often withhold key information, making it very difficult for her to successfully do her job. She would complete a project only to be told that her work was sub-par. She blamed herself the first few times, thinking maybe she wasn’t listening well enough or didn’t have the skills to do the job. It turns out, her boss had not fully understood the task from his higher ups, and therefore had only shared part of the information necessary for her to do a competent job. When confronted, he refused to admit that he hadn’t originally understood the objective, and instead blamed my client. She had to leave this toxic, dishonest environment before he did further damage to her self-worth and confidence. The leaders of a company set the tone for the work culture. Because this did not exist, others felt that they could also lie to make themselves look good. This makes it impossible to build trust and loyalty.
BE OPEN TO OPENNESS
Being open to openness means the leaders are creating an environment for people to share authentically with each other. This is an important step to greater trust between employees and executives. We work with people - flawed human beings - not anonymous corporations. When there is a culture of openness in the workplace, employees are more confident to speak up, pitch ideas and offer constructive feedback. Employees feel valued and secure. It helps the organizations be more successful in the long run. This open culture can start with the hiring process and continue with frequent evaluations. It should be stated as part of the company’s mission. The open dialogue needs to go both ways, between management and the staff.
KEEP YOUR INTEGRITY
Integrity is the foundation of trust. By being honest, open and operating with integrity, you’re on track to building a strong relationship with your colleagues. There is no chance of building trust without adhering to sound moral values and ethical standards. It’s especially important for a company’s leaders to have integrity. They need to set the tone of transparency and dependability, taking responsibility for their actions.
US News recently reported: “Earning trust isn't solely about turning in projects on time. It also includes owning up to your mistakes. When you display integrity at work, you are true to yourself and your values. This is important, not only for building trust with colleagues, but also because staying true to your values is vital for long-term happiness. If you do something that you know is wrong or don't feel good about, your conscience will bother you. This can take away from your feeling of fulfillment in the workplace. And in the long term, this can cause you to have a negative view of yourself, which can lead to self-destructive habits.” Bottom line: Managing integrity is vital to your success, your focus, creativity, productivity and well-being, as well as a foundation for trust.
Next month, we will continue the discussion of the five pillars of trust by breaking down the remaining pillars of vulnerability and competence. Building these pillars is a work in progress for all of us. But the payoff can be huge, leading to more fulfillment and balance in your personal and professional life.
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