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A leader’s first priority- build trust with your team

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At the very heart of being a good boss is a good relationship with your team. In other words, building good personal relationships with your team and gaining their trust should always be a leader’s first priority. Without trust, there is nothing, including success. How do you gain your team’s trust?

  • Get to know your team

Listen to your team members deeply with full presence to learn about their aspirations, challenges and strengths. Only then can you formulate a leadership approach tailored to each of your team members. Some questions you may ask your team are:

1) What values are important to you?

2) Why are you here?

3) What are your best and worst team experiences?

4) What kind of behaviors do you think are acceptable and unacceptable?

5) How are we doing? What are we doing?

  • Be transparent as much as possible

Share your values with your team. Describe your visions and directions that you currently have for the team. Explain what your priorities are, how your make decisions and how you will evaluate the team’s performance, individually and collectively. So each team member will understand what’s expected of them and how you define success. While some things need to remain confidential, be transparent on things that are not and share them as much as you can.

  • Deliver your promises

Deliver your promises, otherwise you’d lose credibility. Be careful what you promise. Yes, there are always people who take in your every move. In cases where you don’t know the answer, just say so.

  • Behave ethically

People want their leaders to demonstrate strong values and uphold high ethical standards, so they can count on their leaders to do the right thing no matter what. Be selfless and put the team’s interest first. Take responsibilities for their decisions and the team’s actions.

  • Show vulnerability

As Patrick Lencioni said in his book “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team”, “Trust is all about vulnerability.” Leaders are also humans.  Showing no vulnerability and trying really hard to hide your weaknesses and flaws to act as if you have none is a big mistake. Leaders who show a bit of vulnerability connect with others at a basic human level, and build trust with their teams far more quickly than those who don’t.

  • Lead by example

John Wooden once said "The most powerful leadership tool you have is your own personal example". Talk the talk and walk the walk. If you don’t act on what you preach or model what you expect from your team, you’ll quickly erode their trust.

 As we all know, gaining your team’s respect and trust is not easy but so critical. You’ll have to work hard for it. But at the end of the day, your efforts will definitely pay off!


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