There’s nothing worse than behavior from your boss that says s/he doesn’t trust you, particularly if you don't deserve it and they don't intend it. Failure to give you responsibility along with authority, not introducing you to a VIP, and micromanaging are all simple and avoidable ways a leader may be sending a motivation-killing signal on the trust front.
To lead effectively you need to have people you can trust, and to show you trust them. Simple, right? Yet even when you intend to trust your people, it’s easy to communicate the opposite.
What signals do you typically send your team about your level of trust? Do you know? Even the smallest things you say and do send signals constantly, signals that are read with more urgency and volume than you might think.
For example, a seemingly innocuous email that says, “I’d like to take a look at that before it goes to the client,” lacks context from you, and can be over-read as, “I don’t trust your judgment when it comes to a final product going out to a client.” If you intend to give the person that feedback, then maybe you need to have a direct conversation about it.
If however, you trust the person and you just want to be copied then maybe some context would help, like, “no problem to send it, I’d like a copy because I’m meeting him for dinner and want to know what we said in case he asks about it.”
It’s important to realize that generally people tend to “over-read” their leaders. Once you know that, you can be more mindful of the impact you have on others.
Particularly among new leaders and entrepreneurs, it’s important to “own” the impact of your behavior on others. Along those lines, here are five ways you can communicate trust:
1. I don’t need to be informed / updated – take me out of the loop, unless you need my support for something specific later on.
2. There’s no need for me to look at it before it goes out.
3. I don’t need to be (at the meeting / event), and I don’t really need to know what happens unless you need my help with something.
4. When it comes to this (business / proposal / idea / project / initiative) I can tell you what I think, but my suggestion would be you use your own best judgment and run ahead with it.
5. You’ve shown you can handle yourself in tough situations like this – I trust you, and you should trust yourself.
These are great messages to send when you trust someone, and you want to make sure you are sending that message clearly and accurately. And when you do that, you are not only leading effectively, you are giving your people a gift worth giving.