In previous articles, we have made a compelling case for the need to develop a team of leaders instead of followers as the fastest path to growth and profitability. It is likely you agree with the arguments.
The question is: Why doesn’t everyone do that?
Very often, the answer lies in one word: TRUST.
Any relationship counselor will tell you that a strong relationship is built on trust. Trust creates a forum for open communication, sharing of ideas, expressing vulnerabilities, and genuine caring. It creates a strong foundation for working together, building together, and growing together. And it creates an unbreakable bond.
A breach of trust can be difficult, if not impossible, to repair. It is bedrock.
Leadership is all about relationships – the relationship of the leader to himself or herself, the relationship of the leader to the members of his or her team, the relationship of the leader to the clients or customers, and the relationship of the leader to the community. These relationships must be built on trust.
If developing a team of leaders is the path to profitability, then developing a code of trust is the pavement on the superhighway.
Think about it.
You as a leader must develop trust for…
An insecure leader is an ineffective leader. And an insecure leader is one who does not trust his or her own leadership. If you do not trust yourself, others will sense this, and they will pick up on the mistrust. This leads to ineffectiveness.
An article in the Harvard Business Review presents a compelling study on the power of trust in business. The study concludes:
“Compared with people at low-trust companies, people at high-trust companies report: 74% less stress, 106% more energy at work, 50% higher productivity, 13% fewer sick days, 76% more engagement, 29% more satisfaction with their lives, 40% less burnout.”
Take a look at your workforce. Do you see these kinds of statistics amongst your employees? Are they excited or stressed about their work? Are they energetic and productive, or lethargically going through the motions each day? Are they creative or simply cogs in the wheel of the business machine?
As leaders in business, we are trained to examine the bottom line and the productivity that feeds it. But sometimes we forget that the key to that productivity is a solid team of individuals working together to make it happen.
Are you as a leader building a business based on trust?
I am reminded of a corporate vice president who was known for being trustworthy. His team loved him and respected him, and it showed in their work. They wanted to please him because they trusted him. And they knew, in return, that he had their back when the chips were down. They were a solid team and highly productive. Beyond that, there was an atmosphere in the department that caused other areas to take notice – a bond, almost like family. This relatively small team carried off major initiatives and celebrated the victories together. The leader was always generous with his acknowledgments of those who created the success.
Contrast that to another vice president in the same company. His team knew not to trust him. They could see it in his personal interactions, and they knew that if they made a mistake, this particular leader would throw them under the bus to save his self-perceived stellar reputation. His employees often called in sick because they hated their jobs, and the churn rate was rapid. On entering the department, you could immediately sense the tension in the air. Productivity was low, and morale was even lower.
The difference between the two leaders: TRUST.
Have you created a culture of trust on your team?
Money responds to the language of trust. The stock market rises and falls. Why? Essentially, it’s about trust. You either trust that the company is worthy of your investment, or you pull your money out of it.
Sales are based on trust. You have heard about the “know – like – trust factor” in making a sale. People may know you well, maybe even like you, but it is only when they trust you that they will part with their hard-earned cash.
When leaders and their teams foster an atmosphere of trust, customers and clients can sense it. There is a great deal of neuroscience to back this up. Chemical reactions actually occur in the brain that create a bond between customers and the companies with which they do business.
Over the decades, we have been exposed to leaders who broke a trust with their communities. It ruined the reputations they had worked so hard to build, and in most cases, that trust was never fully regained. The result: loss of effectiveness in the community.
As a leader, you have a responsibility to create trust across the board. This is called integrity. Integrity creates great success.
If you are looking for greater success, build integrity. And if you are looking for integrity, begin to build strong trust in each of these four areas. The results – the growth in every area – will amaze you.
For more resources on leading for growth in your organization,
click below for the Leading for Growth e-book by Deb Ingino.