When we think about organizations, especially successful ones, we think of their leaders. For better (Mark Zuckerberg) or for worse (Zuckerberg also), they are the faces of their respective companies. Good leadership and a good company reputation begins with trust. Read on to learn how to build top-down trust at your organization.
Correct the Narrative
By default, leaders often think it is all about them. They run the show and success often rewards this thought process. When companies succeed, it is often attributed to leaders’ visions and strategies. In order to foster trust, we must remember that good leadership is about empowering employees to succeed. It is important to actively counter the narrative that the heads of organizations are single-handedly responsible for positive outcomes. In football, a good quarterback is nothing without an offensive line to protect them, and wide receivers to catch their passes. No leader creates success alone.
Empathy is sometimes an area leaders struggle with. Leaders are told for so long it is all about them. It is hard to trust a person who cares more about themselves than others. As a leader, pay close attention to how you interact with employees in group settings and keep a keen eye on how they interact with you. Share your insight during these meetings while remaining engaged and actively listening to your team. To foster trust, it is important to make a concerted effort to listen and show genuine care about all contributions.
Demonstrate Good Judgment
People trust leaders with common sense. That may sound overly simple, but let’s unpack it. When we say common sense, we mean being aware of what you excel at and where your weaknesses lie. Having common sense in this context means that you are wise enough to recognize your niche and expertise, but sensible enough to delegate to others when necessary. Being honest enough to acknowledge that there are things you do not know goes a long way towards building trust.
Be Willing to Learn
There is always more to know. Demonstrating top-down leadership involves being a sponge for knowledge. Lean on your team members who excel in areas you don’t and engage with people on your team who have significantly different experiences. Not only will you build trust, you will also show your authenticity, which is another aspect of good leadership.
Employees want to feel like they know who you are. As a leader, this may be the most difficult aspect of your job depending on your personality, but it may also be the most important. Leaders are already put on pedestals because of their responsibilities so it is easy to look at them and feel detached. As a result, you must actively respond to this barrier. It is easy to hide aspects of yourself at work, particularly to fit in and relate to others. However, difference is an asset in the workplace. When leaders consciously present their authentic selves, it feels honest. Honesty is a trait everyone can appreciate.
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