Business Insider

To lead effectively, you must first earn trust

Today’s world offers many opportunities to question who and what we can trust. Each new day brings fresh chances for doubt and fear. Establishing trust is vital for effective leadership, but earning it may be a challenge.

Many models of trust exist, but they are complex. However, the essentials boil down to two questions:

Are you trustworthy as a person? Are you trustworthy as a professional? Consider a closer look at each.

How do you establish that you are a person worthy of trust?

▪  First impressions count. From the very start, project an image confidence.

▪  Show good intentions. With words and deeds, convey that working with you and following you will result in desirable outcomes.

▪  Let people count on you. Keep your promises. Be consistent. Honor your commitments and expect others to honor theirs.

If people know you mean well, trust in you takes root.

How do you show professional credibility?

You may hold a license, degree, or certificate that validates your professional proficiency. However, if you have no such confirmation, how can you demonstrate your competence?

▪  Cultivate your reputation as a leader whose judgment is sound and informed. Display your thinking so others see that your decisions and directions are based on experience and expertise.

▪  Think how your behavior measures up against reasonable standards of professionalism. A sure way to undermine or destroy trust is to act inappropriately.

▪  Recognize the competence of others.

▪  If others believe you know what you are doing, trust in you deepens.

In the end, trust breeds trust. To enhance trust in you and in your organization, demonstrate strong character AND solid competence.

It’s just that simple — and just that hard.

Linda Clark-Santos, Ph.D. is a consultant and executive coach.