Trust is the basis of every effective workplace relationship, be it with your boss or the people you manage. If the trust between people has died, then so has the relationship.

Trust is also a key component of being an effective leader. Some would say the most important component.  It is difficult to get people to follow you if trust is missing.  Some of the key elements of being able to demonstrate trust start with the following.

Respect the rights of all people. Do this by listening to them and acknowledging their point of view. You may even present their perspective to others. You don’t have to agree with their point of view, but at least they will feel they have had a good hearing.

Be seen to treat all people equally and fairly. A hard one because no two situations are the same. Ensure that your processes are transparent and consistently applied to all. Explain the rationale for your thinking, how you came to your conclusions, why you followed a particular course of action.

Always do what you say you are going to do. The moment you don’t deliver as promised your credibility starts to come into question. So don’t make wild promises. Check what it is that people really need and check that you can deliver.

Speak confidently about what you believe will and should happen. Instil confidence in your ability and the decisions you make. Provide a sound rationale for why you believe something should happen and the reasons why something will happen. Be prepared to listen to an opposing view point and make a shift in your thinking if what is presented makes sense. 

Make informed decisions. Know the ‘ins’ and ‘outs’ of a situation. Weighing up the ‘for’ and ‘against’. Gather the evidence and facts that will support the decision you make. Don’t guess. Don’t assume that others see the situation as you do or have the same knowledge as you.

Inform others of the reasons for your decisions. Establish a credibility, a rationale for your thoughts and just
how this decision evolved. Be aware of the ramifications of decisions on others.

Minimise the risk of failure. Seek input from others about potential risks and take steps to check that they are minimised. If the things you do are seen as being successful people will trust your judgement and ability.

Provide counsel to those who seek it. When asked for advice, give it. This is not saying solve their problems for them. It is about you assuming the role of a mentor and assisting them to make the all important informed decision. Help them see the range of choices and the possible consequences.

Keep confidential conversations between those who are authorised to know. The quickest way to lose the trust of someone is to breach their confidence. This can be tricky because in some situations you may feel others should know of a problem about which someone has come to you in confidence. Whenever you feel this to be the case, seek permission from the person concerned to discuss this matter with others.

Provide others with the space to manage their own priorities. In other words, keep your nose out of areas where it doesn’t belong. Allow them to be responsible for the outcome and to achieve it in the best way possible. You must be sure that they are capable of doing the job.

Daniel Kehoe: Author of the best-selling You Lead, They’ll Follow books, Daniel has worked as a management consultant since 1979 in Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and UAE (Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Al Ain). He is a Fellow of the Institute of Management Consultants

Reprinted with permission

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