Many of us see leadership as a one-way transaction. One person is giving the orders, and the other is following. However, seeing leadership like this causes us to miss some of the fine details of leadership.
One of these fine details is co-operation. For a leader to be effective in their leadership, they need others to co-operate. In fact, they would not be the leader if others did not look to them for commands and assistance.
At the heart of leadership is the dependency on others. We need our teams to be willing to listen, input their ideas and co-operate with our vision. And all of this requires trust.
The best leaders understand that to be effective they need people’s trust. And that is because trust enables two things. The first is that it allows for mutual respect.
When we trust others, we are less likely to treat them with disregard. Instead, we seek to listen to what they have to say and take their feelings on board. Although trusting someone does not solve all problems in any relationship, it is certainly core to how we treat one another.
The second is that it allows for vulnerability. Although being vulnerable can often be seen as a weakness, it can be a great strength when put in the right environment. Leaders need their team members to be vulnerable to allow for good team building.
So, for the most part, trust is what keeps us together. It allows us to speak up when we feel uncomfortable, and it gives us the respect we need to co-operate. Therefore, the best leaders seek to gain trust from their team, and here are two essential traits to do so.
Be Willing to Take Risks
One of the hardest things leaders do is take risks. They take risks to pursue their vision whilst leading projects that will probably not go to plan.
Becoming risk-averse is a quality I have found many good leaders to have. That is because they learn to navigate their problems by using their intuition.
However, taking risks is also a part of trusting others. All of the friends you have in your life today were strangers at some point. But you took the risk to have a conversation with them and build a relationship.
To build trust, we need to constantly repeat the actions that people would expect of us. But it is funny that we also need some element of trust towards another person before we even meet them. We assume that they are probably a nice person before we go out for a meal with them.
Unfortunately, this is a concept that micromanagers struggle to understand. They are constantly bothering their employees and feel the need to check on them all the time. The reason for this is at its core being scared of taking risks.
After all, leaving your employee to do the work on their own has many risks associated with it. What if they do the work wrong? What if they are behind schedule? How would you know if they are progressing well?
These questions are constantly at play in their minds, and they respond to them by micromanaging. Unfortunately, for their team, it is seen as a lack of trust towards them.
The best leaders understand that a level of trust is required for good co-operation. Trusting your team member’s expertise to get the job done right is essential if you wish for them to trust your leadership.
Be Open With Your Time
For the most part, getting to know and trust individuals involves deliberate action. You have to make the effort to talk and spend time with them to really build trust.
The best leaders do this deliberately by taking time out of their busy schedules. They purposely book meetings with new team members to grab a coffee. And they take time to walk out of the office with team members once the day is done.
However, what makes this really special is that they are open with their time. Instead of leaving their team members in the dark, they let them know when is the best time to get a hold of them.
Most leaders who do not have the trust of their team tend to be less open with their daily schedules. Due to this, when they do make the effort to build trust, it seems quite shallow. Team members may feel like it has only been done because they have some spare time or feel like they should do it.
Being open with your time means being visible. Just as you would a friend, let your team know exactly when you have time for them. By doing so, you become an open book that they can trust.
As we begin to build organisations that depend more on trusting the expertise of our teams, we need leaders we can trust. It is easy to get caught up in our day jobs and neglect those around us, but we need to build our relationships to ensure respect and openness.
So, start giving your team more responsibilities and trusting their experience and expertise. They may just surprise you.