“Trust me.” How often do we hear those words uttered in the movies? You know, the type where the action hero reaches for the distressed heroine’s hand, urging her to come away with him to safety? In real life, trust must be earned over time. As a leader in the workplace, you cannot just reach out your hand to your employees and expect them to automatically trust you based on your title alone.
Here are some tips to help you foster trust and loyalty from your team:
- Be committed and consistent: If you want your employees to trust you, commit to them and to your work. Focus, engagement and gratitude are all qualities your team will look for in you, and will want to emulate.
- Ask questions…and listen to the answers: True connection to your team means hearing them out. Be empathetic and show gratitude toward your employees to grow your relationship in a positive direction.
- Set clear expectations: Be upfront about priorities and company goals. Ambiguity will only foster distrust.
- Let your adeptness shine: Competent leaders build trust by showing they have an interest in learning and perfecting their craft. They contribute and follow through with real results. Staying up-to-date on trends truly proves commitment to those you oversee.
- Leave some breathing room: A good leader fosters trust by giving Instead of looking over your team’s shoulders, step back and give them room to complete projects on their own, using their unique perspectives and approaches.
- Hone your “executive presence”: Gravitas (how you act), communication (how you speak) and appearance (how you look) make up your “executive presence,” according to Sylvia Ann Hewlett, author of Executive Presence: The Missing Link Between Merit and Success. Hewlett’s research found gravitas to be the most important; the self-confidence to stay calm under pressure is crucial. But there’s more to it. “A big part of gravitas is a knack for conveying tremendous amounts of knowledge and giving people the impression you could go ‘six questions deep’ on the subject you’re talking about, but in a way that’s concise,” Hewlett explains. “Attention spans are so short now that, whether it’s in a speech or in a meeting, you have to show how you can add value in a way that’s both compelling and brief.”
Consciously build this advice into your leadership methodology and you will form a loyal team, built on mutual respect, that everyone will want to join. Only then can you reach out that superhero hand and ask for trust.