Managing Employee Relationships: Leading with Trust

Vicki Noel

What are the barriers to doing this?

There is one thing that is common to every individual, relationship, team, family, organization, nation, economy and civilization throughout the world that if removed will destroy the most powerful government, most successful business, most thriving economy, most influential leadership, the greatest friendship and the strongest character.  TRUST. Building trust takes time, and leaders that do not value trust choose not to invest.  Building trust requires one to give and extend trust to others, and insecure or controlling leaders are not open to this vulnerability or perception of weakness.

Why is it important to do anyway?

The only reason leadership exists is to produce results.  A leader has to have a plan on how to improve results as well as fortitude to take the necessary steps to execute the plan. But a leader charging up a hill is only as good as the people following her…if they are following at all.  To me, trust is the multiplier that will amplify a leader’s ability to achieve results.  (Strategy X Execution) Trust = Results.  If developed and leveraged, trust has the potential to create unbelievable success in every dimension of life.  Trust, however, is not something soft and illusive but rather a tangible asset that we have the opportunity to create (or take away) every day.  Now, more than ever, organizations have to rely upon their culture to sustain through significant change.  Our workforces have to trust their leaders enough to follow them into the unknown.

How can you do it?

  1. Demonstrate honor to those you lead.  Express gratitude for being asked to lead and honor other’s accomplishments above those of your own.
  2. Be inclusive with those you lead.  See beyond the visible differences in others to the tremendous similarities of those you serve.
  3. Engage and value those that follow.  Acknowledge people’s choice to follow and seek to support and connect with them as “people” beyond their work roles.
  4. Share information with those you lead.  Know that employees’ contributions will be magnified to the degree that they have access to useful information.
  5. Develop those you lead.  Help others learn, grow and discover their talents as part of commitment to your organization’s success.
  6. Manage uncertainty openly with those you lead.  Work diligently to consider all options and make choices consistent with the organization’s values.

Over the next several weeks I will be exploring each of these strategies in more depth in this series.  Many thanks to the Great Places to Work Institute and their numerous bodies of work around this topic (which I will reference often) and the leaders I serve with at Southern Ohio Medical Center for your example.

Jack Welch, CEO of General Electric said of trust “You know it when you feel it.” What are some of the characteristics about a most trusted leader or colleague with which you have served?  Have those aspects of leadership helped them achieve results?

Log on and join the conversation at www.somcblog.org .  We learn best from each other’s experiences.

2 Responses to “Managing Employee Relationships: Leading with Trust”

Kendall L. Stewart August 12th, 2013 at 8:30 am

When colleagues in the workplace try to “divide and conquer” by going to a member of my team and asking her to keep a secret from me–and that leader comes directly to me with the information anyway–I know I can trust that colleague. This is the kind of real leadership that inspires trust.

For me it is Leadership by example, fair but firm and being personable. When you know you have “top cover” even if you make a wrong choice are all some of the leadership examples I have seen that inspired trust.

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