Successful organizations all have one thing in common; an abundance of trust engrained in all levels of leadership. Continuously high performing leaders have a level of trust unmatched in their class and loyalty that drives organizations forward. The leader that decides to abandon trust and only focus on results may have the short term performance, but will never have long term excellence. Execution, people development and honesty are the three cores that create a leader’s trust within an organization.
Execution – Top leaders execute on one or two main priorities on a consistent basis. They find the core task that they need to focus on and follow it through to the end. When coaching executives, Peter Drucker would always bring home the point: “First things first”, not “Everything First”.
Being a trusted leader is not about assigning multiple projects all having equal performance; it is placing focus on the priority in the organization and executing at a high standard. Executing the right things brings the right results, and builds the trust within the team that the leader is on the right path.
People Development – Leaders are where they are through the influence of people. A leader in a Fortune 500 company is no different from a leader managing those in a family business of five. Everyone has the desire to learn and be better than what they are today; a strong leader looks at this and develops their directs true strengths.
Trusted leaders connect with those around and within their team and pinpoint how each individual’s strengths can impact the organization in a positive way. This focus on strengths-based leadership brings a sense of empowerment and tuned development that everyone appreciates in and out of work. People development is what drives success in all organizations at any level; and the effectiveness of development lies within the leader.
Honesty – Honesty is integral to building a strong level of trust with others. Leader or not, lack of honesty destroys trust and results in emotional negativity. Trusted leaders are honest with those in every level of the organization; and trusted leaders show they are honest in their behavior.
Telling others you are honest is not enough; behaviors like admitting when you were wrong, what your intentions are with someone or why you want to promote/demote an individual are examples of expressing honesty. Biographies of effective leaders throughout time discuss how honesty was a powerful part on why that leader was effective in their role, and how critical it was in creating a dedicated following.
Executing, developing people and being honest are the foundation to building trust in any organization. The most knowledge or most demanding leader will only get so far, the gap between good to excellence in performance will always start with the level of trust between leaders and the ones they lead.