13 Behaviours That Create Trust

by Jeffrey Deckman





One of the first and most fundamental ingredients Conscious Leaders use to build powerful teams and healthy cultures is Trust.

Very simply, without Trust there is no leadership. Therefore establishing Trust at all levels throughout the organization, above you, below you and beside you, is essential to success as a leader.

Throughout all of my Conscious Leadership training programs we speak of the need to “Lead with A.I.R.” A.I.R. is an acronym for Authenticity, Integrity and Respect. The reason we focus so much attention on Leading with A.I.R. is because when one consistently does so, they quickly build very strong bonds of Trust with those around them.

These Trust bonds greatly increase how openly and honestly people communicate with one another. This in turn increases the speed at which organizations make decisions. Which then increases the speed at which teams can be mobilized and improves the quality of work they perform.

All of this then serves to greatly improve the profitability of the organization and the stature of the manager in charge. So Trust increases profits.

But there are a lot of nuances that combine to give people a sense for whether or not they can trust someone. As a leader it is essential to know what they are and even more important to give people the time to make up their minds about you.

The following excerpt from Stephen M.R. Covey’s best selling book: The Speed of Trust presents the The 13 Behaviours of Creating and Sustaining Relationship Trust.

These 13 behaviours, if practiced with A.I.R., will help you achieve a level of trust with those you depend upon for your success in the shortest time possible. But remember to be patient. Trust, while it can be destroyed in a moment, takes a lot of time to create. This list provides you with key building blocks that will help you to achieve your goals.

The 13 Behaviours of Creating and Sustaining Relationship Trust

Excerpted from “The Speed of Trust, The One Thing That Changes Everything


Behavior #1: Talk Straight


– Be honest. Tell the truth. Let people know where you stand. Use simple language. Call things what they are. Demonstrate integrity. Don’t manipulate people or distort facts. Don’t spin the truth. Don’t leave false impressions.


Behavior #2: Demonstrate Respect

– Treat everyone with respect. Show kindness in the little things. Behave in ways that demonstrate caring and concern

– A good leader takes nothing for granted and recognizes the contributions made by everyone on the team

– Think about specific things you can do to show others you care about them. Call people. Write thank you notes. Give acknowledgement. Send e-mails of concern. Try to do something each day to put a smile on someone’s face

– Never take existing relationships for granted-particularly relationships with loved ones, family, and friends


Behaviour #3: Create Transparency

– Transparency is about being open, real, and genuine and telling the truth in a way that people can verify

– Disclose relationships, interests, and conflicts ahead of time so that everything is always out in the open


Behaviour #4: Right Wrongs

– Make things right when you’re wrong. Apologize quickly. Make restitution where possible. Practice service recoveries. Demonstrate personal humility. Don’t cover things up.


Behaviour #5: Show Loyalty

– Give credit to others and speak about people as though they were present

– Go out of your way to give credit freely

– Make it a rule to never talk about family members in negative ways


Behaviour #6: Deliver Results

– Clarify “results” up front. Make sure you thoroughly understand the expectation

– Before you make a commitment, make sure it’s realistic. To over promise and under deliver will make a withdrawal every time

– Try to anticipate needs in advance and deliver before the requests even come

– Establish a track record of results. Get the right things done. Make things happen. Don’t over promise and under deliver. Don’t make excuses for not delivering


Behaviour #7: Get Better

– In seeking to get better, there are two strategies that are particularly helpful in maximizing your effort: seek feedback, and learn from mistakes (really all experiences)

– Continuously improve. Increase your capabilities. Be a constant learner. Develop feedback systems-both formal and informal. Act on the feedback you receive.


Behaviour #8: Confront Reality

– Confronting reality is about taking the tough issues head on. It’s about sharing the bad news as well as the good, naming the “elephant in the room,” addressing the “sacred cows,” and discussing the “undiscussables.”

– Address the tough stuff directly. Acknowledge the unsaid. Lead out courageously in conversation.


Behaviour #9: Clarify Expectations

– Create shared vision and agreement about what is to be done up front

– In every interaction-explicitly or implicitly-there are expectations

– Disclose and reveal expectations. Discuss them. Renegotiate them if needed and possible. Don’t assume expectations are clear or shared

– Clarify expectations both at work and at home

– Check for clarity by asking a few simple questions:

What have you understood from this conversation?
As a result of our interaction, what do you see as your next steps? What do you see as mine?
Do you feel that others are clear regarding expectations?
What can we do to make things more clear?


Behaviour #10: Practice Accountability

– There are two key dimensions to practicing accountability:

Hold yourself accountable*

*When people hold themselves accountable, it encourages others to do the same

Hold others accountable*

*People respond to accountability-particularly the performers. They want to be held accountable

Hold yourself accountable. Hold others accountable. Take responsibility for results. Be clear on how you’ll communicate how you’re doing-and how others are doing


Behaviour #11: Listen First

– Listen before you speak. Understand. Diagnose. Listen with your ears-and your eyes and heart. Don’t assume you know what matters most to others. Don’t presume you have all the answers-or all the questions


Behaviour #12: Keep Commitments

– Keeping commitments is the quickest way to build trust in any relationship

– Make commitments carefully and then keep them

– Don’t break confidences


Behaviour #13: Extend Trust

– Demonstrate a propensity to trust. Extend trust abundantly to those who have earned your trust. Extend conditionally to those who are earning your trust.



While all of this is very intuitive and reads easy. Consistently engaging people in this manner can be very challenging, depending upon the circumstances.

So here is another tip: You won’t do it perfectly every time. But when you mess up, which you will, get back in integrity, make your amends and get back on the bike of Leading with AIR.

People don’t expect perfection but they do expect honesty. Give them enough for long enough and you will garner enough Trust to make you and your organizations successful for a very long time.



Jeffrey Deckman is an internationally recognized thought leader, strategist and an award-winning author on the topic of conscious leadership. His book “Developing the Conscious Leadership Mindset for the 21st Century” was awarded 2 international Stevie Awards and 4 national awards for its ground-breaking work detailing and defining conscious leadership in the modern era.

Jeffrey is the creator of the M3 Process for Conscious Leadership Transformation; The Bigger Know Principles of Conscious Leadership and a variety of instructional programs designed to transform leadership through higher consciousness.

He is a stage 4 cancer “thriver” and for the past 15 years Jeff has devoted his life to expanding his consciousness and creating ways to share what he has learned with like-minded individuals who share his passion for bringing a higher level of consciousness into leadership to serve future generations.

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