Tips for Effective Leadership
Tip #5: Trust all the People all the Time
by Wolf Rinke
Effective leaders have the guts to look
at what others do …
and do something different.
“Trust all people all of the time, until they prove you wrong” is the advice
I provide in my seminars and consulting activities. The typical response:
“You don’t understand the people who work for me” or “You sure have no clue
who our customers are.”
In one way I understand. After all, trust has become a vanishing act in
corporate America. According to a study of 1,800 employees by Aon’s Loyalty
Institute of Ann Arbor, MI, 13 percent of US workers distrust their employers
on the most basic level --- they don’t feel free from fear, intimidation or
harassment at work. Aon also found that less than half of employees trust
the leaders of their organizations overall.
What does this lack of trust mean? According to Watson Wyatt Worldwide of
Bethesda, MD “...companies where employees trusted top executives posted shareholder
returns 42 percentage points higher than companies where distrust was the
Here are eight effective ways for leaders build trust in their organizations:
- Invoke the law of reciprocity, which says, “Whatever you give
is what you’re going to get.” To get more trust you have to give it first.
- Make sure your word is always as good as gold. Team members should
never have to second-guess anything leaders tell them, and they need to be
able to count on their leaders to do right by them, their customers, and
- Hold everyone accountable. Team members need to be held accountable
for all their actions. One way to do this is to have them commit to this
powerful axiom: If it’s to be, it’s up to me!
- Establish boundaries. Trust works when people know they can count
on each other to do a certain thing a certain way. Once the boundaries are
in place leaders must then discipline themselves to expect that their team
members are going to operate within those boundaries. Why? Because over
the long term you will get what you expect!
- Build a learning organization. Trust requires lifelong learning
because it can only come about if people can count on each other to perform
at peak performance. For this, they need to have the resources to engage
in lifelong learning, constant renewal and change --- and must be allowed
to make mistakes.
- Practice tough love. Highly effective leaders love their team
members the way they are, not the way they ought to be. The paradox of course
is that all of us are like red wine, which means we have the opportunity
to get better all of the time. And Contrarian Leaders help their team members
get better all of the time. Which of course requires love. And love is not
possible without trust.
- Walk your talk. Trust will only come alive if leaders reinforce
their words with actions. They must be the role model of everything that
they want to have happen in their organization.
- Practice high-touch. High-tech will increasingly be the norm
as we move toward virtual organizations. Without high touch, however, in
the form of meetings, organizational retreats and conferences, trust will
wither on the vine. There simply is no shortcut to developing trust with
another human being. It can’t be done via the Internet, voice mail, faxes,
or other electronic media. It requires personal contact.
Dr. Wolf J. Rinke is a management consultant, executive coach and keynote
speaker dedicated to helping organizations and individuals maximize their
potential. In addition to his new book Don't Oil the Squeaky Wheel … and
19 Other Contrarian Ways to Improve Your Leadership Effectiveness (McGraw-Hill,
May 2004), he is the author of several other best-selling books including
Winning Management: 6 Fail-Safe Strategies for Building High-Performance
Organizations. Rinke can be reached at 800-828-9653, WolfRinke@aol.com
||Don't Oil the Squeaky Wheel:
And 19 Other Contrarian Ways to Improve Your Leadership Effectiveness
by Wolf J. Rinke
Contact: Cindy Kazan: 414.352.3535; firstname.lastname@example.org
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