One of the key requirements for leading people effectively is trust. They have to be able to trust your decisions. I would argue that it’s probably easier to obtain that trust in your private life, and in volunteer work than it is in the corporate environment. That’s because in your private life, and volunteer work, people assume that you are what you say you are, and that there are no hidden agendas. Corporate life is not nearly so forgiving. Even if you are exactly who you say you are and entirely consistent, some people are loathe to trust and are constantly looking for those alternate agendas. So, how do you build trust?
If you say you will deliver something at a particular time, then do so. In order for people to believe you about the big stuff, they need to be able to believe you about the little stuff. Deliver what you say you will deliver, and deliver it on time.
Sometimes this is much harder than it seems. It may mean saying “no” because you can’t or won’t do something, rather than saying “yes” because you feel bad about saying no.
This one is hard. You have to be the same person every day. Deliver consistent results every time. If people know you will deliver results every time, they come to trust you. One way I do that is to send out reminder emails for every single Girl Scout meeting. People know that they will get a reminder for every meeting, and I will remind them of the time, and location. It costs me a couple of minutes to do, but the parents don’t have to rely on their memory, and I get more consistent responses from them as well.
Say Thank You. Early, often, and regularly. It costs you nothing, but means so much to the other person. It can be so hard to remember to be grateful, and to express that gratitude. It is easy to take others for granted. Stop, and say thanks.
Building trust sounds easy, but can be very hard to do. It is necessary to build that trust in order to lead.