Are You Trusted?
Question: Lee, as a leader, I would like to know how we can increase the trust that our team members have of us as leaders and also among our own team of leaders?
I have said on many occasions that if I could only get one perfect score on an employee survey it would be on trust. The question on the survey is: Do you trust your Leader? I am happy to say that I did receive a 7.0 on a 7.0 scale from 100 percent of my direct reports on that question when I was at Disney.
One thing you have to do to be trusted is to be trustworthy. What this means is that you really
have to be careful about everything you say and do as they are watching you and judging you.
Being open to feedback and being open to changing your mind helps. Being totally honest with
Taking the blame for mistakes helps. Not being defensive helps. Admitting right away when you
make a mistake helps. Saying you are sorry helps. Doing what you say you are going to do helps.
This falls into the area of keeping your promises, which means you need to be organized
with a good planning system so you never have to say, “I forgot.”
You, as a leader, must create a healthy environment that is respectful of all individuals; you
must learn how to make your fellow employees feel special; you must treat them as individuals;
you must show total respect to them; and you must help develop them, educate them,
and know their jobs.
Make sure that you know them on a personal level. Know about their family, their aspirations,
their dreams and goals in life, and then use your position and influence as a Leader to help them
as much as you can.
Learn to give coaching and feedback in a way that does not damage self-esteem or self confidence.
Tell your people often how much you appreciate them. Tell them what they are doing great . . .
and what they need to improve on . . . and tell them how you will help them.
As far as improving the trust of fellow leaders, I would say that you need to get to know one another
as well and to agree on how as a team you are going to run the business to be consistent for
your front-line team members—even if you have to get into a room a few days a year and build
the team into a consistent force . . . then do this. If the team is not being consistent, it will break
down trust among not only the leadership team but the front-line team as well.
Explain “Why” to everyone each time you are making a decision or giving a directive so that
everyone understands your thinking. Include your team members in your thinking.
Ask them for their solutions to a problem you are dealing with. Involving others, asking their opinion,
and listening well are all great ways to improve trust at work or at home.
The main thing to remember as a leader is that you have a reputation, and you are the one
mainly responsible for it.
If you have a great reputation, you can lose it in a second. If you have a bad reputation, it may
take forever to improve it, if you can.
If you use your authority to make people do things versus bringing them along so they want
to do things, then you will not be trusted.
Dr. Stephen Covey in his book, The 8th Habit, points out that between stimulus and action there
is a space—and that space is there for you to do one simple thing . . . and that is to THINK before
you act. Great Leaders work on making that space bigger and bigger so that when they act
they have made the right decision; and when they do that, they will be trusted.
How many people do you know that go from stimulus to action without thinking and do a lot of
damage to relationships and trust at home and at work?
How much people trust you has a lot to do with how effective you can really be in all parts of your
I hope that this begins to answer the question.
Just remember again, that to be trusted, you have to be trustworthy…..Lee
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