Posted by Hazel Chapman, 23rd April 2018

Building trust to facilitate leadership has been a theme in our recent team and individual coaching. Here we share our observations and advice for leaders wishing to grow trust with teams and stakeholders.

Trust appears to be under unprecedented threat. We are seeing a reduction of trust in the geo-political environment and a growing crisis of disengagement and silo thinking across many organisations.

Trust reflects our sense of safety and wellbeing, and the lack of it, that essential and instinctive gut-felt message that tells us whether to run, fight or freeze, is actually a sign that our sense of survival and self protection is functioning healthily.

However, as the world turns to the "New Normal" of Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity (VUCA), our instinctive danger alert system may have become constantly switched on, making relationships, collaboration and endeavour all the more difficult. In short, the more stressed we are, the less we trust.

In these challenging times, leaders who wish to grow collaboration, innovation and a healthy, productive workplace, need to over-invest to build and reinforce trust to counter-balance the negative effects of stress.

Here are 6 practical ways you can build Trust:

1. Make contact more often
Our instinctive response to absence is to think someone doesn't care. Just reaching out and showing interest can go a long way to setting the right conditions for trust.

2. Confirm and reconfirm your positive intention toward others
In the task-driven, speed culture of today, it's easy to assume everyone only needs rational information. But we will trust someone more readily when we know they have good intentions towards us. Explicitly remind others of your positive intentions - why you value them and your relationship with them.

3. Reveal your hand
Secrets and a lack of information feed our sense of threat. Even when there is nothing to tell, tell people what you don't know yet. Even better, share your personal experience - the more honest the reveal, the stronger the invitation to trust.

4. Listen & notice
Listening and noticing what others do, say, how they appear and the impact they have on you, is a simple but extremely powerful way to build trust. We all have an innate desire to be seen, and simply put, we appreciate and are more likely to trust those who see and notice us.

5. Be consistent
Reliability builds safety and safety builds trust - knowing you have my back, knowing what you stand for, knowing the limits of your patience and knowing what you need. Consistent communication emphasising values, needs and expectations, calms fears and builds trust.

6. Exchange thoughtful feedback more often
ou can do all the above by giving thoughtful feedback more often:

  • Reconfirm the importance of the relationship to you
  • What you noticed and when
  • The impact on you and why that matters to you
  • Any request you would like to make

Feedback given thoughftully with good intent deepens trust.

What will you do to invest in TRUST today?