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In this weekly series, Todd Dewett, PhD, shares the tips respected and motivated managers use to improve rapport, navigate tricky situations, build better relationships, and drive the business forward. Each week, we'll release two tips ranging from avoiding the dreaded micromanagement to managing a multigenerational workforce, cultivating better listening skills, and developing an understanding of your organization's politics. Check back every Wednesday for more Management Tips.
Trust is one of the truly essential elements of high performing teams. If people trust you, they're willing to be honest and vulnerable and they're willing to take risks on your behalf. Innovation and change can't really happen if you're team doesn't trust you. If you want to understand how to build trust, start by understanding that it's mostly about what you do not what you say. You can't simply tell people that you're trustworthy. In fact, that can be odd. Instead, you have to behave in a manner that clearly demonstrates trustworthiness.
Consider these five key behaviors that can help you build trust. The first is integrity. In every decision you make, be honest and within the rules. I'm not only referring to abiding by policies, regulations and laws. Integrity also is affected by how well you do what you say you will do. If you say A and then do B, trust can evaporate quickly, so always keep your word. Next, look for ways to be helpful. Some call this a servant leader approach. It's about genuinely seeking opportunities to help others achieve their goals.
This is built on the idea that you will be successful to the extent that your employees are successful. The more you're helpful, the more they will trust you. In addition, remember that as a leader, you're a collaborator not a dictator. Assuming there's time and depending on the type of issue you're facing, your goal in making decisions is to partner with the employees and strive for input and consensus. The feeling of inclusion you give them is a huge catalyst for trust. Finally, get over yourself.
For me this involves humility, self deprecation, and admitting when you're wrong. Being humble, doesn't mean you can't display confidence and self assuredness. It simply means that in addition, you have to down play your role once in a while and share credit widely within your team. Self deprication is straight forward, it's about making fun of yourself. Think about a learning moment you had or something embarrassing you said or did, we all have them, so you use them. Last, is admitting you make mistakes. To build trust, don't try to project perfection by hiding mistakes.
Use them, laugh at them, and learn from them. The person willing and able to follow these rules doesn't have to tell others about their trustworthiness. The behaviors speak for themselves. Have integrity. Be helpful. Collaborate. And find ways to get over yourself. When you do, you'll build a serious foundation of trust.
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