Building trust is an intentional practice. Building trust is an essential practice of an effective leader. You need to create a plan to accomplish this ongoing task of building, earning, and gaining trust with individuals and with groups in your community. It’s never too late to start!
Consider some of these actionable items:
- Meet one on one with all your direct reports. This can be an annual goal meeting or it can be a non-agenda meetup that is time for your direct report to share who they are. Everyone should get the same opportunity in your team.
- Follow through when you say you will. If you say you will do something, do it. This is a huge trust builder. Alternatively, if you say you will do something and you don’t, it is a huge trust breaker.
- Provide timely and growth-focused feedback. When direct reports receive feedback, they can set goals and improve. When your team does not receive feedback, there is a lack of clarity on performance. People don’t know how they are doing. This leads to awkward and difficult conversations when someone’s performance is concerning.
- Get to know your people. Make an effort to know who they are as professionals and who they are outside of the workplace. We do this with our students in order to build relationships in the classroom. We need to do this with our colleagues and those who report to us. The relationship is the key to difficult conversations. When you don’t know each other, you are on shaky ground when in a challenging conversation or situation.
- Clear and direct communication is key to building trust with individuals and in a team. Clear is kind. Unclear is unkind.
- Model the behavior you want to see in your team. If you want your teachers to build a safe, trusting, honest, and engaging environment for kids, you need to do the same for the adults you lead.
Intentionally creating a plan to build trust in your team is smart leadership. Increased trust leads to stronger relationships and stronger relationships lead to individual and team growth. This is both strategic and visionary work. What are you waiting for?