There are many ingredients that go into building 360-Degree Trust in your organization or on your team. In part two of this series, I will touch on four key ingredients for leaders to work on to make 360-Degree Trust a reality.
First, you must bring the most important part to the table yourself. You must have integrity and be of good character. Men and women want to be led by better men and women than they themselves are. You must always be a person of your word, and just as importantly your actions must match what you say. If you say one thing, but do another thing, it is your actions that will be believed. Always be honest with the people in your organization, even when it is hard to do so. Always do the right thing for the people in your organization and for the organization, even when it is not in your own best interest to do so.
Second, you must be professionally competent. The people on your team deserve that, and you owe it to them. Does that mean you will always have all the right answers? Absolutely not. However, you should always strive to be a little bit better each day professionally. This only occurs with having the mindset that you can always learn something new, and sometimes that is from people who work FOR you. This means you must be willing and able to put your ego aside. If you ever believe you are as good as you can be as a leader, then go do something else because you will no longer be an effective leader.
Third, always give credit where credit is due. Give credit to the team, and the people on your team by name, who helped your team succeed. My philosophy has always been very simple in this regard. If my team was successful, I went to the boss (in public if possible) and said, “hey boss look what my guys and gals did and Jim, John and Jane did a great job on this project”. If we were unsuccessful, then I went to my boss (in public if possible) and said, “hey boss I messed up and this is how we are going to fix it". As the leader you do not get to pick and choose what you are responsible for. You are responsible for everything that does or does not happen in your organization. Take the blame and give the praise. You will be amazed at what this will do to build that 360-Degree Trust with the people you have the PRIVILEGE to lead.
Lastly, if you want to build 360-Degree Trust in your organization you must get to know the people you lead, they must get to know you and they must get to know each other. You must build a community. One of the best ways for you to get to know the people on your team and for them to get to know you is to get out from behind your desk and visit your people where they work. Every day make it a goal to find one person on your team and find out one new thing about them – not about their job but something personal. To do this you must be willing to share some things with them as well. I had a boss who retired as a 3-star general who told me, “No matter how high up you get never turn down a chance to get your own cup of coffee”. When you do this, you show everyone that you are not a prima donna. And if you are lucky, you have multiple ways to get to the coffee pot and back to your office so you can stop and talk to people along the way.
Leadership is about people, plain and simple. For you to effectively lead your organization you must build trust between you and the people you lead; they must trust you and they must trust each other. Establishing this 360-Degree Trust is one of the most important things you can do as a leader. Make it a priority and I promise your efforts will be greatly rewarded.