How Leaders Build Trust | Harvard Business Publishing - Deepstash

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Trust

Trust is one of the most vital forms of capital a leader has today. Amid economic turbulence and global uncertainty, people are increasingly turning to their employers and business leaders as a source of truth, rather than their institutions and government officials, according to a new global survey by Harvard Business School’s Institute for the Study of Business in Global Society and the Edelman Trust Institute.[1]

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What Is Trust

Trust, which can be defined as a belief in the abilities, integrity, and character of another person, is often thought of as something that personal relationships are built on, but according to recent research in Harvard Business Review , trust is the foundation of most successful organizations.[2]

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The Benefits Of A High Trust Organisation

A high-trust organization is one in which employees feel safe to take risks, express themselves freely, and innovate. When trust is instilled in an organization, tasks get accomplished with less difficulty because people are more likely to collaborate and communicate with each other in productive ways. As a result, outcomes tend to be more successful.

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  • Share information openly and candidly . Keep the team updated on what’s going on in the company and at the senior leadership level. Don’t withhold resources from employees or make decisions in secret.
  • Provide regular feedback . Be clear about the team vision and expectations of team members. Share how employees are tracking toward their performance—both positively and constructively.
  • Encourage open communication . Create an environment where employees feel comfortable speaking up and voicing their opinions—even if those opinions differ from leadership. Leaders can follow formal processes, such as anonymous surveys, as well as informal processes, such as asking employees for their thoughts on a workplace topic at regular check-in meetings.

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  • Start with self-awareness. Leaders become more authentic when they begin with knowing who they are—what they value, what they’re good at, how emotionally intelligent they are—and how others perceive them.
  • Show vulnerability. When leaders reveal their trip-ups and failures, they are seen as more approachable and less arrogant[4], but showing vulnerability isn’t always easy. Start by sharing lessons from past mistakes or areas of development.
  • Embrace the journey. The path to authenticity can be tricky. Nevertheless, the answer is not in pushing away difficult emotions or situations that might arise, but in embracing the ups and downs. And, above all, learning from them and sharing those learnings with team members.

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Be Reliable

  • Follow through on commitments. To be reliable, leaders must ensure their actions line up with their words. Employees will quickly lose faith in a leader if they can’t rely on the leader to do as they say.
  • Establish expertise. Employees don’t expect their leaders to know everything, but they do need to hold a certain level of confidence in their leaders’ capabilities. To build their confidence, root ideas in sound evidence, suggest industry best practices, and share trends, insights, and resources relevant to the team’s function.

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  • Follow through on commitments. To be reliable, leaders must ensure their actions line up with their words. Employees will quickly lose faith in a leader if they can’t rely on the leader to do as they say.
  • Establish expertise. Employees don’t expect their leaders to know everything, but they do need to hold a certain level of confidence in their leaders’ capabilities. To build their confidence, root ideas in sound evidence, suggest industry best practices, and share trends, insights, and resources relevant to the team’s function.
  • Demonstrate integrity and fairness. All team members should be able to rely on their leaders for fair treatment, especially when it comes to growth opportunities. Provide all team members with learning experiences so they can develop their skillsets, whether through projects, training programs, or other roles in the organization.

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Integrity Is The Key

Demonstrate integrity and fairness. All team members should be able to rely on their leaders for fair treatment, especially when it comes to growth opportunities. Provide all team members with learning experiences so they can develop their skillsets, whether through projects, training programs, or other roles in the organization.

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Train Leaders To Build Trust

As an organization grows, it’s important to continue investing in leadership development . That way, the next generation of leaders will understand how to build trust within their teams—and why it’s so important. This means giving them the skills and tools they need, such as authentic leadership training, communication training, and DEI training, to name a few. It also means ensuring that leaders meet regularly with team members to foster open dialogue and build connections.

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