To be followABLE you must be trustABLE. Leaders trade in intangibles, and trust is among the most valuable currency you handle.
When you have the trust of the people you lead, you have the position to set direction, the authority to align resources and the margin to recover from potential error. Trust is a true point of difference for leaders who stay and leaders who don’t. Being a leader who can be trusted sets the tone for creating culture, navigating challenges, and resolving conflict. Trust is the deep piece of leadership that gives you the social permission to lead. It’s the tangible yet intangible sense of authority being given to you as the leader to carry out your organisational mandate.
Desmond Tutu said “Human beings have a vested interest in being trustworthy.” In other words, we ALL WIN when we ALL choose to be trustable. Having trust is a byproduct of being trustable. In his Forbes article David Horsager says, trust doesn’t come with a title but It must be earned and it takes time. As a leader, you are trusted only to the degree that people believe in your ability, consistency, integrity, and commitment to deliver.
The two fundamental parts of being a leader who is trustable are time and transparency. Time because that’s how we experience one another in real and meaningful circumstances. Transparency because truth, honesty and authenticity are all key parts of remaining trustable over the long haul.
There are three parts to being a trustable leader. It’s essential to be these things in increasing ways. They are:
- Capability – people believe you can do the job.
- Consistency – people experience you as balanced in your behaviour.
- Communication – people experience a two-way engagement and believe what you say.
The REKON Group made Tesla a case study in trust, and it demonstrated the unique combination of personal and professional trust in the context of employee safety. By acting in the best interests of the worker Elon Musk demonstrated personal trust by inviting communication, transparency and responsibility to the managers. This combination made it even more engaging for the Tesla workforce and strengthened Musk’s place as a trusted executive and leader.
Leaders who make the deep commitment to being trustable, enjoy three benefits that will strengthen and deepen the longer they do their job well.
- When you are capable and consistent you build belief – people get behind you as a leader.
- When you are consistent and communicate you deepen engagement – people get behind your vision for the future.
- When you are capable and communicate you fuel momentum – people turn ideas into reality.
Becoming and staying a leader who is trusted can be strengthened by connecting these five steps:
- Evaluate – Prioritise three trustable traits of what you’re good at and less good at.
- Design – What progress plan will help you deepen and strengthen your trustability as a leader?
- Adjust – Engage with a mentor to sharpen your weakest area and leverage your strongest area.
- Focus – Spend a minimum of 30 days focusing on one key growth point, preferably 90 days.
- Review – Create a place for review and feedback so you are able to adjust quickly where needed.
Trust begins and ends with you and me as leaders. To be trusted we must be trustable.
This is for leaders. I am for leaders.