Happy New Year!!! My hope for you is that 2015 will be your
best year yet. We start this year by thinking about how important
trust is. Relationships are built on trust. The more trust
there is in a relationship, the better the relationship. I
hope 2015 is a great trust building year for you.
| Leading with Trust:
Principles and Practice
A Watson Wyatt Worldwide study of 12,750 U.S. workers in all major
industries found that companies with high trust levels outperform
their low-trust counterparts by 186 percent.
In a 2011 Maritz survey, only seven percent of more than 90,000 employees
worldwide said they trust their senior leaders to look out for their
best interests. Its not just a problem for rank-and-file employees.
Roughly half of all managers distrust their leaders, according to
a Golin Harris survey of 450 executives at 30 global companies.
Despite the importance of trust, few leaders give it the focus it
deserves. Misunderstood as a nebulous feeling, trust is
earned through consistent, positive behaviors practiced over time.
Two of the best books on this important topic are:
- The Trusted Advisor (Free Press, 2001), by leadership
consultants David Maister, Charles Green and Robert
- (Wiley, 2011), by Charles H. GreThe Trusted Advisor Fieldbook:
A Comprehensive Toolkit for Leading with Trusten and Andrea
Trustworthy leaders practice and master five key abilities:
- Listen Well
Most leaders use their listening skills to gather information.
But listening is a critical tool for connecting with others,
building relationships and strengthening influence. You must
pay attention, be empathic and let others know you understand
Partnership involves collaborating (not competing), committing
to fairness, balancing assertiveness and cooperation, dealing
with disagreements, and sharing responsibility for successes
Things dont always go as planned. Glitches and challenges
can be moments of truth that require rational and
emotional flexibility. Leaders are stretched at times, but your
ability to handle moments of truth determines your trustworthiness.
- Take Risks
Trust cannot exist without taking risks and leaving your comfort
zone. Every risk you take builds trust. Leaders must be courageous
enough to overcome their fears and confront challenging situations
with curiosity and authenticity.
- Know Yourself
Knowing your strengths and weaknesses allows you to delegate
and collaborate more effectively. Work with a trusted mentor
or executive coach to identify blind spots that impede self-knowledge.
The traits that make you a strong leader may inadvertently interfere
with building self-awareness and trusting relationships. Consider
these common blind spots:
- You dont realize the extent of your need to be liked.
How often do you avoid saying or doing something because it
might be unpopular?
- Youve underestimated the intensity of your internal
drive to achieve. Results-oriented leaders habitually move
too quickly from fully listening to pushing for commitments.
- You overlook your discomfort with feeling unprepared. Leaders
arent clairvoyant and dont have all the answers. This
uneasiness may prevent you from engaging in collaboration and
depending on others.
Four key components contribute to your overall trustworthiness.
- Credibility (the realm of words): Our level of expertise
and how we present our knowledge determine our credibility.
When we study facts and complete analytical research, we build
up our credibility. We boost credibility in our business conversations
a) Developing formidable expertise in our industry
b) Staying current with industry trends and business
c) Offering our point of view (when we have one)
d) Being willing to say I dont know
when this is an honest answer
e) Expressing passion for our areas of expertise
f) Communicating with self-assurance (a firm handshake,
direct eye contact, a confident air) to defend ones
current thinking diminishes the drive to learn new perspectives.
- Reliability (the realm of actions): Do you fulfill
the promises you make? Do you deliver on your commitments? Reliability
is built over time, but it can be destroyed in a second. Boost
your reliability with consistency, predictability and certainty:
a) State expectations up front. Regularly
b) Make lots of small promises, and
consistently follow through on them.
c) Be prompt.
d) Communicate if you fall behind.
Take responsibility for delays.
e) Respect organizational norms and
- Intimacy (the realm of emotions): Itís easy to keep
a professional distance in our interactions, but the ďall-businessĒ
leader rarely gets ahead. The problem with intimacy is that
the word carries a connotation of closeness that isnít appropriate
at work. In reality, intimacy refers to your willingness to
share appropriate information about the things that truly matter.
Boost intimacy by sharing personal experiences and values.
a) Listen beyond the words. Pick
up on tone, emotion and mood. Acknowledge these
b) Tell people what you really appreciate
about them. Donít keep it to yourself!
c) Use peopleís names in conversations.
d) Share something personal about
yourself. This makes you more human and interesting.
- Self-Orientation (the realm of motives): Without doubt,
we are all self-motivated to a degree. But we also want whats
best for others, the company or the team. How often do you speak
about yourself: your wants, needs, goals and priorities? Are
you oriented toward finding win-win solutions that take others
needs into account?
When trust breaks down, excess self-orientation is usually
to blame. You can lower your level of self-orientation in
a) Taking time to find the best solution
b) Sharing time, resources and ideas
c) Asking lots of questions from
a place of curiosity and figuring out yourpartners
definition of success
d) Negotiating for a true win-win
e) Listening even when its
uncomfortable to be silent
f) Speaking hard truths, even when its awkward
g) Giving your partner the credit
for ideas and achievements
Understanding your quirks and weaknesses allows
you to rein in your ego and increase your trustworthiness.
I hope you are comfortable with
your plans for 2015. The better your plans are, the better your
results will be. 2015 may be the time that you want to have a
coach help you make it a fantastic year. I can help you find a
coach that can help you make 2015 the best year yet.
Happy New Year!!!
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