Trust is the foundation of all relationships; and that includes leadership and followership. Without it, you’ll find that there is no leadership at all happening in the relationship. Organizations don’t work, groups fall apart; it’s a every-man-for-himself culture.
Brian Tracy once said that it is “The glue that holds all relationships together – including the relationship between the leader and the led is trust, and trust is based on integrity.”
Imagine an organization without trust, where the workers are suspicious of one another and take steps to ensure their self-preservation.
The manager, to keep his position, hoards information and is quick to put down any potential worker that might take his place.
All the energy of the collective workforce will be spent not achieving the organizational vision, but ensuring self survival in the workplace.
There is a verse in the Bible that says, “A house that is divided cannot stand.” An organization or group where trust is rare will soon crumble.
An as a leader, you must spend a lot of time investing in building trust in your followers.
And it’s not about mastering techniques to win people over; no, it’s about living a life full of integrity and honor and truly gaining the respect of your followers.
How Do You Build Trust
1. Build your character
Trust is based on a very simple foundation.
Will you do what you say? Do your words count for something?
If you’re a person who cannot seem to live up to what you say; you have to work on it first. Before you can expect others to trust you; you have to trust yourself that you would do what you said you would.
I’m sure there are times in your life where you wanted to do something, but you never brought yourself to go and do it.
“I want to take more time for my kids this year.” But you end up spending more time at work instead.
“I want to spend 2 times a week exercising from now on.” You never start.
Your word is gold and you have to learn to develop consistency in word and action.
Build your character before your relationships.
2. Be ready to trust others yourself
Before you can expect others to trust you; you as a leader must first be ready to trust others.
Lao Zi, a Chinese philosopher once said,” He who does not trust enough, will not be trusted.”
Trusting others means you give them the benefit of the doubt, it means you don’t micromanage their behaviour or activities, it means you delegate your authority to them. All these actions by you give your followers assurance that you are indeed trusting their ability and character.
3. It takes time
It takes years to build up trust, and only seconds to destroy it.
Building trust is like making small deposits in the bank account; you make small deposits every month that compounds to a substantial amount at the end of many years.
Similarly, as you lead, it is in the small events that you display your credibility as a leader that will accumulate that trust for you. Small things like arriving on time, like keeping a promise that is hard to fulfil will build that level of respect that is required for you as a leader.
And with that trust, you will find that you have in your hands an effective team that moves fast and works closely together.
Learn to trust, and learn to be trusted.
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