During the course of my career in the military and manufacturing, and as a small business owner, I have seen a myriad of leadership styles and cultures. One of the most important aspects of leadership in any organization is building trust within the team. If there is no trust between team members and nobody trusts the leadership, the organization simply cannot succeed.
Boy, I couldn’t begin to count all the times I’ve seen trust broken in the workplace. And the thing is, once that bond is broken it’s almost impossible to repair it. Even if you manage to repair the bond, it will never be as strong as before.
So how do you build trust and keep it in your relationships? The simplest and most effective way small business owners or people in leadership positions can build trust: Lead with integrity. What you do as a leader is noted by everyone around you. The little things matter to the little guy. If your words say one thing but your actions say another, which can they believe? The answer is neither. By following up your words with actions that support what you said, people begin to see that your word means something. That’s what builds trust in an organization. And trust leads to an emotionally safe working environment, which fosters teamwork and productivity.
It doesn’t matter if you’re in a leadership or not. No matter where you work and what your responsibilities, you need to build trust with those around you. But if you are a leader, you need to behave like a leader. The first step in behaving like a leader is to be consistent in your actions. Your people need to know they can trust you, and to do that they need you to be consistent. They may not agree with every decision you make but if you are consistent with your values and principles, they will at least respect your decisions. If you constantly change directions and give conflicting guidance ,or your actions betray your words, nobody will trust you. When someone doesn’t trust you, it’s awfully hard to get them to work with you in a team environment. But when you lead with integrity you have the foundation for building a successful team.
Matt Wegner is a personal finance, small business and leadership coach focused on teaching his clients the tools for L.I.F.E. (Living In Financial Excellence). Learn more about Matt at financialexcellence.net!