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10 Ways Leaders Build Trust

Healthy Leaders

10 Ways Leaders Build Trust

Charles StoneCharles Stone
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Thriving is better than just surviving, and teams can’t even survive without trust. Leaders have a responsibility to weave strong cords of trust among those we lead and serve. That is a mark of leading well and successfully. Consider the following 10 ways to build trust within your teams.

  1. Speak truth, but always in love.
    •  Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Him who is the Head, that is, Christ. (Ephesians 4:15)
    • Don’t spin and don’t flatter. Tell the truth, but don’t use a bat to do it. Jim Carrey starred in a movie several years ago called Liar Liar. He always spoke the truth but with no love, consideration or respect.
    • One of the most successful ways to deplete people’s trust accounts is to send angry emails. Don’t do that.
  2. Golden rule trust.
    • The golden rule says, “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you.” (Matthew 7:12)
    • In other words, give trust to others and they will give it to you. If you don’t trust others, don’t expect them to trust you. Trust gets reciprocated. You want trust; you have to extend it to others.
    • Biblically rooted trust does not mean blind trust. Stephen M. R. Covey calls it smart trust. There must be some credibility and history before you give full trust. I recommend his book Smart Trust.
    • Smart trust means that you have a propensity to trust and that you extend and inspire trust in others.
  3. Risk transparency.
    • People don’t trust what they don’t see. Trust requires humility in that you give part of yourself to others so that you actually give the power to them to potentially hurt or disappoint you. Banish hidden agendas. Don’t make things appear what they are not. Be willing to admit your failures and struggles.
  4. Go the extra mile to right wrongs.
    • Don’t cover up. Don’t make excuses. Own your own failures. You will build trust in others when you admit it when you were wrong.
  5. Give credit where credit is due.
    • Speak about others as if they were present.
    • Practice Matthew 18 by dealing with conflict one-on-one first. Don’t let others con you into their conflict when they aren’t willing to apply Matthew 18.
  6. Be accountable.
    • God gives more opportunity and responsibility to those who have proved themselves trustworthy. “‘Well done, my good servant!’ his master replied. ‘Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.'”(Luke 19.17)
    • Hold yourself accountable and responsible. Don’t blame others when you should take responsibility.
  7. Do what you say you will do.
    • Behave in ways that build trust in others. Show up the same way every day. Don’t be mad at everybody one day and happy as a lark the next day. Be consistent.
      • … those who fear the LORD … keep [their] oath even when it hurts … (Psalm 15:4)
      • … show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive. (Titus 2:10)
      • Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. (1 Corinthians 4:2)
  8. Practice authentic empathy.
    • My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry …. (James 1:19)
    • The more we know each other and truly listen, the more we can understand why others do what they do.
    • Listen to understand – not to build your case, not to reply, not to find loopholes in the other person’s argument or viewpoint, not to correct them – but first, listen to understand.
  9. Seek understanding before being understood. (In other words, learn to truly listen.)
    • My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry …. (James 1:19)
    • The more we know each other and truly listen, the more we can understand why others do what they do.
    • Listen to understand – not to build your case, not to reply, not to find loopholes in the other person’s argument or viewpoint, not to correct them – but first, listen to understand.
  10. What would you add as a tenth?