How To Become a High Trust Leader

Trust is often in short supply in today’s world, you only have to look at what’s going on with Covid 19 and the blame game around whose fault it is. Yet trust is a key commodity for all business leaders if they want to get the best out of their teams. As we all know people don’t leave companies they leave leaders and one sure fire way to lose great people is to lose their trust.

So how do you build and maintain trust?

A little while ago, I came across an article written by Stephen MR Covey, who is a global authority on trust, leadership and culture and the author of the book The Speed of Trust. In this article Covey covers off the 13 behaviours of a high trust leader, which I thought were well worth sharing.

Covey states that a high trust leader is an individual who has unquestionably strong personal credibility, has the ability to create and grow trust with others interpersonally and who is then able to extend that trust organisationally. High trust leaders have learnt how to interact with others in ways that increase trust levels while avoiding the pitfalls that deplete trust.

Here are Covey’s 13 behaviours of high trust leaders:

1) Talk straight. Tell the truth and let people know where you stand. Call things as they are and don’t manipulate or distort facts.

2) Demonstrate respect. Genuinely care for others, by respecting the dignity of your team, no matter what the role. Treat everyone with respect, especially those who can’t do anything for you.

3) Create transparency. Tell the truth in a way people can verify by being real, genuine, open and authentic. Operate on the premise of “what you see is what you get.”

4) Right wrongs. Apologise quickly and make things right when you are wrong. Demonstrate personal humility. Don’t let personal pride get in the way of doing the right thing.

5) Show loyalty. Give credit to others and speak about people as if they were present. Represent others who aren’t there to speak for themselves.

6) Deliver results. Establish a track record of results, deliver what you have committed to, on time and within budget or make budget. Don’t make excuses for not delivering.

7) Get better. Always be open to learning and looking to improve. Set up feedback systems and be open to feedback and act on that feedback. Thank people for their feedback.

8) Confront reality. Take on issues head on and don’t ignore poor behaviour. Lead courageously in conversations and actions.

9) Clarify expectations. Disclose and discuss expectations, validate them and get buy in from the team. Don’t violate expectations or allow others to do so.

10) Practice accountability. Hold yourself and others accountable by taking responsibility for results. Don’t blame others when things go wrong. Be clear on how you’ll communicate how you are doing and how others are doing.

11) Listen first. Listen before you speak. Find out what the most important behaviours are to the people you are working with. Don’t presume you have all the answers, or all the questions.

12) Keep commitments. Say what you are going to do and then do what you say you’re going to do. Make commitments carefully and keep them at all costs. Make keeping commitments the symbol of your honour.

13) Extend trust. Demonstrate a propensity to trust and extend trust abundantly to those who have earned your trust. Extend trust appropriately to others based on the situation, risk and character/competence of the people involved.

I think these 13 behaviours are very powerful and my advice would be to do a self-assessment as well as ask your team to rate you against these 13 criteria. There is a lot to be learnt from improving in any area that you need to. Thanks again to Stephen Covey for his fantastic article.

Roger Simpson – CEO, The Retail Solution and Author of “The Ultimate Retail Sales Experience” With over 35 years’ industry experience, Roger Simpson is recognized as Australia’s #1 Authority on customer ROI in the retail industry and as a global expert on staff coaching, customer service, and selling skills.