Agnelo Joseph, Co-founder, Tattva Academy and Business Consulting

Trust, more than a trait, is a significant component of every human relationship. Come to think of it, trust between people at work is the crux, the basis on which the whole of the organizational behavior is decided. It creates an atmosphere of safety, well-being, and acceptance – all of which are crucial to building healthy relationships between employees.

Is being trustworthy an essential leadership quality? Let’s look at it this way: When you think of leaders, you imagine them as powerful, decisive, calm, and responsible beings. More often than not as torchbearers of right-doing, and someone you can trust wholly, especially at the time of crises.

Trustworthiness, therefore, tops the list of qualities a leader must possess. To simply put it down, when your team doesn’t trust you, they don’t put their best effort. Come to think of it, if you look back in your professional career , how often your decisions to stay or move was based on your leadership trust factor I am sure the answer is most often. So Trust leadership is a very critical essence in building any organizational culture for better productivity impacts. It’s the actions of the leaders that make very visible but subtle impacts on people working in the organization.

While establishing that comfort zone is fairly easy within an office space, what really matters today is how effectively a leader manages to create/maintain an atmosphere of safety and comfort at the time of a humanitarian crisis like Covid-19.

Here’s a checklist to begin with:

1)      A non-binary approach to issues

There are always more options than ‘do it’ and ‘don’t do it’. Always more options than just yes or no. A systematic, more insightful approach towards issues will not only help people grasp the depth of the issues, but also encourage them to learn from the same. Approaching issues with a “let’s see how we can turn this around” or “let’s see how we can avoid this in the future” adds value to the learning part of the whole situation.

2)      Calling a spade, a spade

Layered feedback, especially at the time of crises may create unwanted confusion. Doing the talk, calling a spade a spade makes a leader reliable and trustworthy. While it is important to be empathetic, it is also important to call out problems and solve them mindfully. It is important to note that spades are different type choose how you call and where you call.

3)      Honesty is the ‘only’ policy

Many organizations have been going through transitional phases at the moment. Companies are facing losses, structural changes and chances are a lot of them would keep going through the same for the next couple of months. It is important to keep employees at every level in the loop of the latest development so they could also prepare themselves for the worst. The shock value of unexpected news can have an irreversible effect on their lives, particularly their mental health. Transparency, therefore, is very important.  Don’t shift the goal often, create new playing tactics to score the goal.

4)      Bridge the gaps if any

As a reliable leader, it becomes important to bridge the gap between different teams from the organization, formed due to confusion or miscommunication. If left unacknowledged could create further problems, thereby causing unnecessary distress. A leader needs to be a fixer sometimes, just to provide a neutral ground for discussion. Learning to swim by throwing in deep waters is not always possible. There can be better ways of teaching the skills when using the same situation how it can be communicated without any gaps.

Having a trustworthy leader is reassuring. It encourages employees to give their best while they can leave the rest on their leaders.

Trust Leadership is all about the experience you create to enhance a belief system.

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