Do You Pass The Trust Test?
The global communications firm Ketchum has polled thousands of consumers across 12 countries several times over the past decade, and in the latest study just 24% believe leaders overall are providing effective leadership. Clearly there’s a lot of room for improvement!
What do those respondents consider the most important attribute of effective leaders? Open communication.
Consider this point from one of their studies:
Trustworthiness ranked higher than management and financial strength
as a source of leadership credibility for corporations.
I don’t think this is as simple as the obvious meaning, “don’t lie.” To be seen as a true leader, you need to communicate both openly and honestly, and live up to your promises. Obviously there are confidential or proprietary issues you may not be able to reveal, but you need to work at telling what you can and be as open about it as possible.
And being clear about where the boundaries are between what you can and can’t discuss gives you more credibility. You don’t look like you are just hiding something you don’t want to talk about.
On top of the communication itself, showing that you always meet (or exceed) your promises will make you ‘trustworthy.’
It’s easy to struggle with making commitments publicly, often for fear of falling short on them. You don’t want to be embarrassed that you didn’t meet what you said you would. But this is a trap you need to avoid.
We’re all human, and do sometimes fall short. If you admit where you fell short and what you are going to do to keep that from happening in the future, you build credibility.
How to Start
Pick some really easy, fairly short-term targets you are sure you can live up to. Let your team or your peers know about them. Then make sure you achieve them.
As you start building your muscles, stretch a bit more in your commitments, and be a bit more proactive in you communications about them. Soon you will start to be seen as a clear, transparent and trustworthy leader!
Drop me a note or post a comment to let me know what happens.