When it comes to dealing with both leaders and team members, it's all about creating a solid level of trust in order to keep day to day operations smooth and efficient. You will find that alignment, transparency, and productivity will all be improved when you can bridge trust between different stakeholders and levels in your workplace.
A good leadership program will put building trust and relationships at the forefront as the foundation of your management and influence. Whether you are working to a senior executive leadership role or already leading teams and seeking innovative ways to connect with your team members, you must take some essential steps to foster trust in the workplace.
Provide Support and Constructive Feedback
Leaders need to be pillars that other individuals can rely and lean on. It is imperative you establish a support system that advocates for and champions the team.
Not only does this mean backing up your team members and uplifting team morale, but also being able to give consistent feedback that can legitimately help each individual grow. The key is being constructive and mindful so that whatever feedback you provide is actually helpful and doesn't end up discouraging or turning people away.
Being a supportive leader is two-pronged. Team members should be able to rely on you to support their endeavors and protect them from work friction, and you should also be the go-to source of wisdom that can effectively call them out on mistakes and provide them with productive ways to move forward.
Be Communicative and Available
The last thing you want is to create a distance that makes you seem unreachable. With so many different channels for communication today, it can be difficult for leaders to stay on top of every conversation and message being sent in every direction. However, you need to find a way to keep open and transparent communication channels including making yourself available should anyone need you.
One executive leader at a large multinational enterprise always set time aside in his calendar that could be booked by the team as required. It's also about being active on various communication channels so that you are always approachable when your people need you.
Set an Example With Your Own Actions
You simply cannot expect people to listen if you don't walk the talk. This is especially important as employees are more attuned to the culture they expect from work.
Just as you expect them to fulfil their roles, they will keep an eye out to see if you are fulfilling your role as the leader. Set goals for yourself and follow through, be a positive example, and carry yourself in a way that demonstrates high self-respect and genuine care for the people and work around you.
If people want to emulate you, they are more likely to accept your leadership role.
Monitor Yourself to Avoid Micromanagement
Micro-management is often a trait of ineffective leadership, and it can be a downfall for those who are trying to establish themselves as competent leaders. When you micromanage everything, you lose focus on your main duties as a leader: to effectively monitor and maintain your top priorities, support and grow your team, and delegate when appropriate.
While you are meant to guide and assess everything that goes on, you don't want to hover too much and get into every person's minute actions. This not only hinders the productivity of your team members but will also unnecessarily increase your workload.
Create a System for Conflicts
When you're in a leadership role, you will have to address conflict at some point. When you are leading your own team, this can be especially tough to deal with, as you don't want to come off as harsh or biased in any way.
Rather, you want to create a system where conflicts are approached in a structured, consistent, and fair manner. If you don't, conflicts can quickly escalate and cause even more significant work friction leading to poor individual and team performance. Therefore, consider how you want to approach these scenarios before they happen and help the team be proactive in obtaining constructive feedback from peers.
Provide Avenues for Employee Growth
Employee growth is more than just your basic training and development plan. It's about providing a series of avenues for people to grow and be challenged with higher levels of responsibility.
A good program will give employees the autonomy to try out new projects and ideas while also giving them the security of knowing that you and the organization have a vested interest in employee learning and growth.
Actually Get to Know Your Team
It's easier said than done, but you should be getting to know each person on your team and the role that they play. There will be some who you connect with more than others, but don't make that the basis of your relationship, as it should be based on respect and teamwork.
This doesn't mean you need to try and be friends with every person on your team. It's just about understanding the nuances and responsibilities of each team member, personality and circumstances so that you can make the appropriate decisions as needed.
In addition to having the insight needed to delegate, you also have a better perception in the eyes of your team members when you show that you care. Empathy is key to great leadership. Nobody wants to feel like they are just a nameless cog in the system, so getting to know your team helps significantly increase employee engagement and the overall employee experience.
Be Transparent Through Highs and Lows
Finally, you must be transparent as a leader. This obviously doesn't mean you lay all the cards out and throw sensitivities out the window. It just means being upfront and honest with the dealings that affect the workplace.
Whether you're having a good or bad day, being transparent as a leader is important because it shows that you can be trusted and, in turn, you trust your team members. This is essential when trying to create mutual trust that will help build high performing teams and unite the team.
Building trust is a must if you want to succeed as a leader in your company. Executive coaching is not only valuable but essential as it will help provide you with an external perspective to develop your leadership skills and practices so that you can build a long lasting relationship of trust with other leaders and team members. When you invest in this process, you increase the value of your contribution to the organization immensely and thereby reap benefits of increasing employee engagement and overall company profitability.
Stuart Andrews, the author of “The Leadership Shift: How to Lead Successful Transformations in the New Normal,” is the number one trusted advisor and executive coach in Australia specialising in helping executives and business leaders drive successful initiatives and building high performing teams. Schedule your 30-minute discovery call now and eliminate complexity from your business challenges.