Building trust is something anyone wanting to be a successful leader must do. Trust underpins every relationship in the workplace – between boss and employee, between colleagues, and between businesses. Trust isn’t something that is inherent; it must be forged through consistent action. While there are many ways to become a trusted leader, they typically have some common traits, known as the “Five Cs.”
A committed leader is someone who is loyal to the cause, the vision, and the team. She perseveres despite setbacks. When a leader is committed, she will build the trust of those around her by staying present, engaged, and positive. Commitment is the number one thing a leader can demonstrate to build trust.
A trustworthy leader is connected to those who look up to him. He resists the temptation to get bogged down in the day-to-day grind and become neglectful of those who depend upon him. He never comes off as distant or detached in his leadership role. He is willing to take some time away from his daily commitments to get to know his team members in a meaningful way. This helps them see him as a trusted person who cares about them and values their involvement.
A trustworthy leader gets to know her employees, listens to their concerns, and responds in a meaningful way – each and every time. This doesn’t mean coddling them; a trustworthy leader expects her team members to perform their jobs professionally. But a trusted leader knows that no one is perfect. People make mistakes, suffer hardships, and sometimes just need to know that someone cares. A great leader “has the back” of each member of her team.
Consistency for a leader is key. A trusted leader maintains a calm and collected demeanor, even under fire. His staff are therefore more likely to approach him with their great ideas, as well as with their legitimate concerns. By maintaining consistent expectations, and reacting in a consistent manner, he builds trust with his team.
A great leader invests time in getting to know the issues, expands her skills, and participates in continuous learning. She doesn’t pretend to be an expert in all things. She surrounds herself with skilled, knowledgeable people and relies on their expertise. Her employees trust her for being straightforward and honest.
The Sixth “C”
A great leader communicates clearly, concisely, and coherently.