Whether we are a leader on a large global team or a leader in a small organization, our ability to be trusted will impact our performance and relationships. There’s no way around it. If we can’t be trusted we will never be able to reach our potential and become influential.
Have you ever worked on a project and the person feeding you information overlooked giving you all the data?
Did you ever have a boss who set up a meeting with you and failed to show up?
Was there ever a time when a team member threw you “under the bus” by blaming you for something they neglected to do?
Has it ever happened that you made a commitment with a deliverable that you completely forgot about because you got involved in other work?
Frustrated and disappointed individuals have shared all these scenarios in my leadership programs. And of course each of us faces “let-downs”. But to be a trustworthy leader we need to own our missteps and be accountable to the very important people we work with daily.
Here are five actions of a trustworthy leader:
1. BE TRUTHFUL ABOUT A MISTAKE OR MISSTEP
When leaders are honest about an error they made, team members see them as being human. Our human side helps us display our trustworthiness. Each of us messes up at different points. What’s important is admitting our mistake and offering to fix the situation quickly.
2. DISCLOSE ALL THE INFORMATION
We are all inundated with extraordinary amounts of data but it is essential that we share it with team members and project partners. Trustworthy leaders share their information freely.
- Never withhold important documents or knowledge
- Keep colleagues updated when things change
- It’s better to provide more data than exclude facts
3. APOLOGIZE WHEN WRONG
If we forget to show up at a meeting make sure to apologize sincerely. Time can sometimes get away from us but to be a trustworthy leader we need to let the other person know we are sorry. A sure way to betray someone’s trust is by not acknowledging when we have disappointed a team member. We all want to feel we can count on the people we see each day.
4. NEVER BLAME OTHERS FOR OUR OVERSIGHTS
Blaming others for our errors is not holding ourselves accountable. To be a trustworthy leader we need to own our actions.
- Instead of finger-pointing accept your part in a project delay
- Rather than accuse a teammate of not touching-base with a customer, state that it was an oversight on your part and will speak to them that day
- Support the hard work and efforts others put in
5. DO WHAT YOU SAY YOU WILL DO
To be a trustworthy leader we need to be great at follow-through. If we commit to a deliverable, we need to complete it with care and timeliness. If we set up a meeting we need to show up with full focus and energy. When leaders fail to carry out what they offer to do they will destroy their trustworthiness and credibility quickly.
What actions do you take to be a trustworthy leader?