In working with a group of leaders recently, we were talking about the importance of building trust with team members. As a leader, you truly do need to create a circle of trust within your team. One thing I have noticed, though, is that leaders understand that they need to be trustworthy in their interactions with others. They get that they have to earn the trust of their employees. But where many leaders blow it is when it comes to trusting in others.
I’ve been thinking about this for a few days and recalled numerous coaching clients who faced this same issue. It can be very difficult for you to let go and trust someone else to do a good job. I often hear, “Well, if you want a job done right, you have to do it yourself!” If you take this approach, I caution you that you are probably doing your employee – and your organization – a disservice.
In the movie, Meet the Parents, Greg Focker, (played by Ben Stiller) spends the weekend at his girlfriend’s parents’ home and has to deal with her intimidating father, Jack Byrnes, (played by Robert DiNero). If you’ve seen this movie, you’ll recall that Jack constantly watches Greg and repeatedly tests him to determine if he can admit Greg into the “Byrnes Family Circle of Trust.” While I found the movie funny, (but too stressful), it – and its sequels – have been box office hits. The term “Circle of Trust” has certainly become part of our vernacular.
Booker T. Washington once said,
Few things can help an individual more than to place responsibility on him, and to let him know that you trust him.
I couldn’t agree more. Take a moment and think about the last time you assigned a task or placed responsibility on a team member. Even better, think of a time when that assignment required a bit of stretching for the employee. I’ll bet that he or she stood a little taller and worked very hard to make sure not to let you down.
When you teach a team member how to do a task and delegate responsibility to him, you are, in essence, saying “I trust you to do a good job.” That can go a long way toward building a solid relationship between the two of you. You see, trust has to go both ways, or should I say it should be never-ending, like a circle.
Here I’ve jotted down some ways that you can build your own circle of trust with your team members. I’d love to hear about the things that you are doing with your employees.
- Treat team members like business partners. Ask for their input, discuss the outlook, and listen to what they have to offer.
- Say “Don’t call me, I’ll call you.” Your team members, peers, even contractors and vendors should not have to hound you to get information or a decision. Anticipate your responsibilities and deliver on them without being asked or nagged. If you say you’ll do something, then do it. Period.
- Ask for help. By doing so, you let your team members know that they are valuable and vital to the success of the team.
- Loosen up the reins. Think about what tasks, duties, or responsibilities you might be able to delegate to a capable team member. You will certainly want to invest in training the employee to make sure he or she has the skills to perform well, but by doing so, you will reap the return on your investment later when you’re freed up to do other, more important work.
- Take a look in the rearview mirror. Are you aware of how your behaviors affect others?
- How are you coming across to others? Solicit feedback on your performance as a leader. Ask if there’s anything you’re doing that is getting in the way of team members’ performance.
Trust is one of the most powerful forms of currency in business today.
YOUR TURN: How are you building a circle of trust with your team members by not just proving your trustworthiness, but putting your trust in your team members?
- What would you add to the above list?
- What will you work on to strengthen the bond of trust with team members?
- Please leave a comment on my blog and share your insights with the community.
For more resources on leadership and employee engagement, be sure to sign up for our monthly Ezine and you will receive our report: “7 of Your Biggest People Problems…Solved.”
You might also like:
Jennifer Ledet, CSP, is a leadership consultant and professional speaker (with a hint of Cajun flavor) who equips leaders from the boardroom to the mailroom to improve employee engagement, teamwork, and communication. In her customized programs, leadership retreats, keynote presentations, and breakout sessions, she cuts through the BS and talks through the tough stuff to solve your people problems.