Gaining trust requires respect within your team, whether it’s a group of managers, service providers or a board of directors, trust and respect are imperative. Earning trust and respect is an art form and the linchpin of leadership.
So what do trust and respect look and sound like?
It’s a tough question in the age of divisive politics, shouting TV talking heads and social media trolls. There’s not a whole lot of trust and respect being modeled or earned. Joann Lublin’s 5/3/17 Wall Street Journal article, How Millennial Bosses Can Gain Trust, cites some answers that are no different from how anyone earns trust—by giving and gaining respect. I continue to beat this drum. Lublin has to remind Millennials because they came of age in the digital era that they are more likely to be connected through their devices but may be physically or emotionally distant. Budding Millennial leaders’ reference points to physically, verbally and emotionally gaining trust and respect may not be obvious.
In teaching collaborative negotiation for any professional setting, I talk a lot about gaining trust and respect. I take the corollary a step further by tying gaining respect to vulnerability. They are interconnected. I often bet my student and professional clients that in seeking respect they can and must make themselves more vulnerable than they believe is safe. Doing so will serve them well.
We walk around as defensive beings and it’s no wonder given the heads and trolls. Being the leader and gaining trust and respect requires that you show your hand first and open the door to vulnerability. Also required are honesty and active collaboration using neutral language and losing the spin and half-truths.
Lublin and I agree the first step is to get out of your office and have face-to-face, collaborative conversations. Here are some other tips: ask those whose trust you seek “what does success look like for you and how can I help you get there?” Tell the other what keeps you up at night (the vulnerability lies in your reveal that you, too, have nagging thoughts) and offer to partner toward your respective successes.
Technology encourages, simultaneously blunts and gives rise to the distrustful, disrespectful talking heads and trolls. Tech and TV fall short on deep human connection. Put your cards on the table and speak straight up facing your organizational partners. You will not only gain trust and respect and you will also feel better because you are human and need to connect with other humans in a humane way. Trust me, this brand of leadership will fill your soul and improve your professional trajectory.