Your trustworthiness is the most worthwhile skill you can develop. According to Harvard Business Review's 10-year leadership study, developing your trustworthiness will deliver your greatest return on investment, as a leader.

So, what are your trust-related strengths? In what ways do you show up in your relationships right now that contribute to a high trust, psychologically safe team environment? It's human nature to focus on weaknesses first. To be your own toxic boss. But here's a truth about trust. You can't build it on a chasm of deficit.

How are you already trustworthy? Let me prime the pump for you. Of the last 541 leaders I've assessed, here are the top behaviors people already practice with high frequency to build trust with the people they lead.

See if you recognize yourself in this list.

Consider, might it be true that you...

1. Don't 'shoot the messenger' who brings bad news. You're open to hearing the truth - even if it's uncomfortable.

2. Don't look for ways to blame others. When you make a mistake, you take responsibility for its impact.

3. Are sincere and candid. You're authentic. (And yes, authenticity is a good thing.)

4. Don't gossip. If you've got an issue, you bring it up with the people directly involved.

5. Don't send mixed messages. You don't say one thing and do another, setting people at cross purposes.

6. Keep confidential information confidential. People know they can count on you for discretion.

7. Demonstrate consistency in your needs and behavior. People don't have to walk on eggshells around you. They know what to expect and can therefore extend themselves with confidence.

8. Do what you say you'll do. If you make a promise, you deliver or renegotiate.

9. Embrace new ideas. You truly listen to others' perspectives and redirect if someone else's solution is stronger than yours.

So - how did you do?

Did you see your own work ethic, commitment, integrity...trustworthiness reflected back to you in these behaviors? I bet you did.

Don't underestimate the positive impact these 'basic' trust building behaviors have on your relationships. How when you practice them, you teach people they can count on you. How you grease the skids of communication. How you create safe spaces for people to collaborate and stretch.

When I work with leaders to teach them about the behaviors driving trust, there's always a collective, audible 'a-ha' response.

Most people think of trust as esoteric. As this monolithic, black-and-white intangible. In fact, trust is built (and yes, broken) through 16 concrete behaviors. Most of those behaviors aren't even associated with trust in the public mindset.

You can't leverage strengths you don't know about, or that you underestimate. So, what of your trust-related strengths might you be overlooking? We all hear about blind spots. Our weaknesses we've yet to acknowledge.

You've got strengths you're blind to, as well.

My company developed a free, 60-second trust quiz that might help you discover them. It's based on statistically reliable and valid trust assessment data. Why am I telling you about the quiz?

To educate you about the behaviors that build trust. To give you a leg up in your leadership development. Look, when companies are led by high trust leaders, everyone wins.

You.

Your people.

Your suppliers.

Your clients. Someday, I might become one of your clients. Or, I might refer a friend or colleague to your business. Through helping you strengthen trust in your company, I win.

Trust building is a mutually beneficial exercise.

Published on: Sep 14, 2016
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