Trust in relationships

In my last blog post, I discussed being authentic and understanding who we are as people. I finished with commentary about building follower trust through authenticity.

One of the big issues we have with leaders is the lack of trust, and rightly so. Many leaders enter their roles to develop their own career aspirations, and similarly confuse their own goals as being good for everyone else.

This disparity between a leader’s understanding of what is good can lead to some confusion within their respective cohort. That confusion leads to followers questioning the motives of a leader, and the respective value they place in said leader. Then leaders begin to question whether it might be okay to lie in order to save their status or position.

“For every good reason there is to lie, there is a better reason to tell the truth.” – Bo Bennett

However, the easy method to overcome this problem is by being transparent in the way we interact with others. If our followers understand what we are thinking and what our objectives are, they are able to question our motives in a respectful regard.

Sometimes we forget to draw the line between personal aspirations and organisational goals and our followers can be there to assist by letting us know. If we are open and honest, they too will respond with openness and honesty. That environment of transparency can enable less necessity for backroom water-cooler conversations about our effectiveness, or followers questioning our ability to lead.

“Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.” – Stephen R. Covey

When leaders build the foundations of trust through open and honest communication, they enable a more cohesive and effective organisation.

In senior roles, we often spend much of our time dealing with those who disagree. Thus, working effectively to minimise the reasons they can disagree with you – through false assumptions will enable us more time to pursue personal and organisational goals.

“Trust starts with trustworthy leadership. It must be built into the corporate culture.” – Barbara Brooks Kimmel

So, next time you’re in a position of leadership where you have a hidden agenda – disclose it.
Next time you have a reason to lie, consider the plethora of reasons not to lie.

“Don’t be afraid to show your vulnerability. Be transparent with your team, even when the truth may be unpopular or inconvenient.” – Bill George

Treat followers like you would like to be treated yourself, and I think that begins with trust, openness and honesty.

*Image by Sharon.

6 thoughts on “Trust in relationships

  1. This is the reason why companies that don’t create cultures of transparency are less productive (or fail altogether). I can’t help of think of Enron as an obvious example–executives encouraging bad accounting while employees lost their jobs and retirement savings, among other things. Open communication could have avoided a lot of problems!

    1. Funny you should mention Enron – they formed one of the first lines in my Honours Thesis on leadership! Unfortunately – transparency isn’t always as profitable as deceit, and that’s one of the challenges we face

  2. I think it works in all spheres of life. I heard this great line “If you are honest inside, you don’t have to think what you have to say and how you have to say it.” Hope you find it useful too. 🙂

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