I find it amazing how many people in Leadership Positions are not trusted. I find it amazing because building and maintaining trust just isn’t that hard. All you need to do is be honest. Do what you said you would do. Do it exactly when you said you would do it. Do those things every day of your life and presto… you have now created trust.
Notice in that first sentence I said people in Leadership Positions…I didn’t say Leaders. That’s because true leaders, Authentic Leaders, people who actually lead, are trusted. They are trusted because they do what they say they will do. They do it when they say they will. They do not say yes when what they mean to say is no.
They may occasionally fail at honoring a commitment but not because of a lack of effort. Their people reward that effort with their trust.
The actions of the most trusted leaders always match their words. Special emphasis on the “always” part of that last sentence. Trusted leaders know that we all have what I would call a “credibility bank” that determines how trustworthy we are.
The greater the balance in your credibility bank the more people will trust you. When your words always match your actions you’ll have a very large balance in your credibility bank. Do what you say you will and you receive a very small deposit into that account. Do it when you say you will and you’ll receive another small deposit. Say exactly what you mean and follow through on what you said and yep, another small deposit.
But mess up and fail to follow through and you’ll be making a gigantic withdrawal from your account. Say one thing and do another and bingo, another massive withdrawal. As if that’s not damaging enough, after a couple of those large withdrawals the deposits you receive for doing what you say you will get even smaller. So small in fact that the balance in your credibility bank may never return to what it once was.
Make absolutely no mistake about this leadership fact; if your people can’t trust you then your people can’t follow you. If you’re seen as lacking integrity then you’re seen as lacking the most basic quality of Authentic Leadership.
You may be able to force the compliance of the people you are supposed to be leading but you’ll never earn the commitment you need to truly lead. Protect the balance in your credibility bank as if it were gold because in a world short on Authentic Leadership it’s far more valuable than that.