6 Ways Leaders Can Build Trust

This is a guest post by Dr. Jeremy Statton. He is an orthopaedic surgeon, blogger, and recovering legalist. You can read his blog and follow him on Twitter and Facebook. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.

One of the most important parts of being an effective leader is building trust.

A Climber Reaching Out to Help His Partner - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/DOUGBERRY, Image #10526083

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/DOUGBERRY

We have all had a boss that we did not respect. No matter how intelligent or charismatic, you knew that placing blind faith in him or her would be a mistake. You were always watching your back waiting for the sucker punch to come.

A lack of trust allows fear to become a primary motivation with your team members. They will fear your opinions. They will fear your decisions and evaluations. They will fear failure. They will fear you.

Once fear creeps in, your team members will become paralyzed.

Trust is something that has to be earned. It is something we are all told to give away slowly and to take back quickly.

Here are six ways that a leader can instill respect and trust in his team:

  1. Expose yourself. Open yourself to others. Not in a dangerous way where people can take advantage of you, but rather in a way that demonstrates honesty and humility. Your team needs to know that you are just like them. Be willing to admit your own failures. If you put up a wall around yourself, your team will too.
  2. Take the hit. When undesirable outcomes happen, we are all quick to point the finger. If your team members see that you are willing to take the blame for the good of the team, even if its not directly your fault, then they will start to let go and trust you. As leader of a team you need to accept the responsibility for both the good and the bad.
  3. Build your team members up. This is the opposite of taking the hit. Whenever it is appropriate make sure you praise your team members in front of their peers and superiors. Be sure to applaud their efforts and results. Never try to take sole credit for something good that the team did.
  4. Get rid of the leash. Allow for freedom to explore new ideas and to be creative. If people feel that you are micro-managing them, they will stop trusting you. Make room for failure and more importantly the opportunity to learn from failure.
  5. Accept confrontation. Fighting is not good, but neither is false agreement. When there is a difference of opinion, promote discussion. Explore solutions with the intent to solve problems. If disagreement never occurs, then your team is afraid of telling you the truth.
  6. Find the value in each person. We all have weaknesses, but we also have strengths. Everyone brings something different to the table. Find what is unique in each individual and use that unique strength for the good of the team.

With trust a team can work together. Individuals will accept roles. Leaders will be respected. Teams can be productive.

How do you build trust with your team? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
Want to launch your own blog or upgrade to a self-hosted WordPress blog? It’s easier than you think! Watch my free, twenty-minute screencast. I show you exactly how to do it, step-by-step. You don’t need any technical knowledge. Click here to get started.

Watch my free screencast

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are snarky, offensive, or off-topic. If in doubt, read My Comments Policy.

  • Pingback: 6 ways leaders can build trust | Jeremy Statton's Confessions of a Legalist()

  • http://www.godsabsolutelove.com Patricia Zell

    As a high school teacher, I consider each of my classes as a team. I do put your principles into action in my classroom. I would add to number five by putting in place a strategy to handle confrontation and make sure everyone understands what it is. In my classroom, I encourage students to let me know of any disagreements they have with me, but I have to be careful of a few of them choosing to grandstand for attention. My test for their intentions–if they have a serious conflict, they will be willing to wait and talk to me after the lesson is finished.  

    • http://jeremysconfessions.com Jeremy Statton

      It must be difficult to build trust with some high schoolers. I am sure, though, that it is the first step in being able to impact their lives.

      • http://www.godsabsolutelove.com Patricia Zell

        Actually, I usually don’t have a problem with trust with my students. They know I’m working for their success, and I meet some of their physical needs with a constant supply of pencils, pens, notebook paper, and other supplies. The trust is basically there, but teenagers do like to test the waters. When they do grandstand, I deal with the behavior and welcome them back into the fold after they have been disciplined.

    • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

      I am a high schooler. I am a part of a huge youth group, and we have a mixture of teens in the room. No matter how much you feel like you are not getting through to those certain apethics high schoolers, you are. The most inconsiderate teens have personally told me that (although they don’t show it) that they are thankful for the teachers and older individuals that give them advice and time.

      As a high schooler that sees and knows what is happening in my age group, I just wanted
      to give you some encouragement . God bless!

      • http://www.godsabsolutelove.com Patricia Zell

        Thanks, Brandon! Many of my disruptive students know they owe their graduation to my work ethic, so once misbehavior is dealt with, they get to work themselves.

      • Jmhardy97

        Brandon,

        Thank you for sharing and your comment about not getting through to students….I always wondered!!

        Jim

      • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

        This is a great reminder of the importance of investing in others and sticking with it – even when it seems like you are not getting through or doing much good.  We don’t always want to admit it; but, we are highly influenced by people that continue to speak into our lives.

        • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

          That is true!

    • Anonymous

      Good intention test. I wish there were more teachers with your willingness to be involved. 

  • http://byrdmouse.wordpress.com JB

    A great deal of the leadership lessons I learned in the army were what I called Negative Leadership Lessons. I saw my leaders doing things that I noted because when I was in charge I would not do them. That served me well, however, one of the things that I did learn as a positive was the concept of Team Building. Sometimes it is elaborate, like a picnic, or a fishing trip, sometimes it is as easy as going to lunch. It is doing something together as a group that has nothing to do with work. Allowing someone else to be in charge of the planning or the activity is also useful in that it gives you a chance to evaluate their abilities in a manner other then just assigning them different work tasks.

    • http://jeremysconfessions.com Jeremy Statton

      One of the goals is to get people to not just perform tasks, but to solve problems. If they trust you, then they will be willing to take the risk necessary to solve problems.

    • Anonymous

      I take note of the negative but I tend to call people out on it. I end up tearing the team down rather than building them up.

    • Ralph Stoever

      I agree JB, that bad example can’t teach us a lot too, though not as much as good ones I think.

      Regarding leadership in the military, I wonder what you’d all think about this presentation by General Stanley McChrystal , the former commander of U.S. and International forces in Afghanistan.

      http://www.ted.com/talks/stanley_mcchrystal.html

      • http://byrdmouse.wordpress.com JB

        McChrystal revealed something that shows why he was an O-10, he trusted the NCOs beneath him. I’m sure that also meant he trusted the officers as well, but many times I saw officers who did not trust those below them and it was painfully obvious. Officers tend to get assigned a position for anwhere from a few months to a few years, and when there they have (typically) 1 NCO who has spent his entire career doing this job. When the officer leaves, they go on to the next job eventually getting to the leadership role that will require them to be over all the smaller jobs they had. When the commander doesn’t trust the officers or NCOs below them, the junior officers become micromangers of a job that they have only filled for a few months and ignore the recommendations of the person who has spent his career on that one job. The NCO, for their part, must recognize this and not try to insubordinately tell the officer what to do. When one cog in the wheels mess up, they all get sideways. Then those involved transfer to another unit taking that lesson with them.

        He mentions reverse mentoring as it relates to digital media and technology. I submit that to some degree that reverse mentoring is the standard operating procedure of the army, though most don’t know, understand or do it.

  • http://www.leahadams.org Leah Adams

    These are great rules to follow. A couple of rules that I practiced when I was a manager: 1) never ask my team members to do something that I am unwilling to do, and 2) never dress someone down in front of others. Do it privately. 

    • http://jeremysconfessions.com Jeremy Statton

      If there is an unwanted job, it can be good for you as the leader to show that you are willing to get your hands dirty too.

    • http://www.touchtheskye.org Chris MacKinnon

      I completely agree with #1. I’ll go out and do it once in a while for 2 reasons: 1) to give them a break, and (2) to show that I will do it, too.

      As far as #2, I agree with it with two exceptions. 1) I follow the Matthew 18 rule here, where if I have talked to someone and they haven’t adjusted, and they continue, I will say something in front of the team to keep them accountable. 2) There is also a philosophy by some where if someone commits a “sin” in front of everyone, they should be addressed in front of everyone. I don’t follow this blindly, but I do employ it in some situations.

      • http://www.leahadams.org Leah Adams

        Thanks for your input Chris.  I agree about the Matthew 18 rule for the most part. I just try to treat others the way I would want to be treated.

    • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

      Very good guidelines, Leah.

      • http://www.leahadams.org Leah Adams

        Thank you, Robert!!

    • http://www.christopherneiger.com/blog Chris Neiger

      Great additions to the list!

      • http://www.leahadams.org Leah Adams

        Thanks, Chris!!

  • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

    It is very rare to find a leader of such a caliber (at least in my experience).  I am trying to becoming a better leader to my subordinates. Eventhough I cannot change others, I can change myself. In a game of trust vs. suspicion, I think trust will take longer time to build upon.  It is not going to happen overnight.  A team that works on trust  produces high synergy and exponential results. And, it all begins with the leader.

    • http://jeremysconfessions.com Jeremy Statton

      Trust always takes time. It may also cost you something else such as your pride.

  • http://davidsantistevan.com David Santistevan

    Very good points. I’ve also found that building trust has to do with being a man of your word. When you say you’re going to do something, do it. Be a leader that gets stuff done, moves the ball forward, and is a relentless finisher.

    • http://jeremysconfessions.com Jeremy Statton

      Getting things done is important, but some people will do just that and lose the trust on their team.

      • http://davidsantistevan.com David Santistevan

        True, but it can go both ways. If you don’t get things done, people won’t trust you enough to follow. I guess it’s a healthy balance!

      • Anonymous

        you can quickly lost trust by distrusting those you lead. GTD over the top of them and not allowing them to lead in areas will erode the trust between the two of you very quickly.

    • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

      Totally agree with ya!

    • Jmhardy97

      correct, but trust must be earned. Your word means nothing in the beginning. People are taking note to see if they can trust your word, before they actually do.

  • http://www.coolriverpub.com Edchinn

    This is excellent!  The only thing I would add is: BE REAL.  Speak truth.  Don’t say things you don’t mean or understand.  If someone uses an unfamiliar word, say, “I don’t know what that means.”  If you meet a friend and can’t remember the name, say so.  Don’t call something “awesome” if it isn’t.   Don’t accept the unacceptable.  Being absolutely real will transcend age, race, class, and every other “box.” 

    • http://jeremysconfessions.com Jeremy Statton

      Humility and honesty are a great formula for being “real.”

      • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

        I definitely agree with that!

  • http://www.paulbevans.com Paul B Evans

    Thanks, Dr. Jeremy!

    “How do you build trust with your team?”

    Our team works together on implementation after dreaming. 

    We’ve all been on those “staff retreats” were plans were made then somehow they either never happen or they change without the team being asked.

    By working together to reach the decided goal, long-term trust has emerged.

    • http://jeremysconfessions.com Jeremy Statton

      Sometimes what happens at the retreat stays at the retreat, for good or bad. Finding practical ways to build trust at work is a good practice too.

  • http://www.touchtheskye.org Chris MacKinnon

    I am openly honest with everyone. As a pastor who has worked in churches where everyone thinks everyone else knows everything about everyone and no one is afraid to lie to anyone, honesty is almost impossible. So when I fail, I apologize. When I don’t have clear direction but am willing to try something, I tell it just like that. And in the pulpit, I’m clear that I struggle just like everyone else struggles. 

    A friend referred “The Speed of Trust” by Steven M R Covey. I haven’t got around to it yet myself, but he said it completely changed how he looked at the issue of trust in relation to leadership.

    • http://jeremysconfessions.com Jeremy Statton

      Admitting failure is difficult, especially if we think that people expect better from us, but it is a great door to open to allow others to admit failure. How will we change if we are not honest about the need to change?

      Thanks for the book recommendation.

    • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

      Honesty is important.

    • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

      Chris, I agree. Sometimes honesty can be hard, even in the church.
      Sometimes you’d rather just smooth something over, omit something to make it
      seem better, or stretch the truth in order to make ourselves look good. I
      agree with you… honesty is the best way to go.

    • http://www.christopherneiger.com/blog Chris Neiger

      We need honest pastors and people who are willing to accept honest pastors. Good to hear this.

  • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

    I don’t think you can overestimate the power of building up people on your team (#3).  I think this is one of the biggest things you can do as a leader.

    • http://jeremysconfessions.com Jeremy Statton

      Agreed.

    • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

      Totally agree with you – encouraging others and giving them opportunities to succeed can be game-changers.

  • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

    Good to see you on here, Jeremy! In my experience #1 and #2 ring most true for me. Very tough lessons to learn, but good.

    • http://jeremysconfessions.com Jeremy Statton

      Thanks, Jeff. It is a natural response to defend yourself and blame shift, just ask Adam.

  • http://www.classiercorn.blogspot.com Classier Corn

    Hi there,
    Very good and true post!
    Best Regards
    Classier Corn

  • Anonymous

    2. Take the hit. This is me. I struggle with this. I tend to lean towards the negative. I know in my mind that I don’t always intend to play the “blame game.” but I end up pointing fingers. I hide behind the premise that I want to get this done and fix issues but most of the time it just comes across as whining and negativity and I end up pushing people. Crazy how God continues to put this in front of me lately. Definitely being stretched on this. That was my topic of discussion on my blog today, Lessons in Leadership. http://www.chriscornwell.org

    • http://jeremysconfessions.com Jeremy Statton

      I was told by an army Colonel a story of when he took the hit. His hit was painful including calls from a U.S. Senator questioning his leadership abilities. His team made him look very bad, but he accepted the responsibility and the team followed him after that.

      • http://www.chriscornwell.org Chris Cornwell

        Taking the hit is tough. Thank you for the story. Good thoughts.

  • http://profiles.google.com/cbarbour Charles Barbour

    I’d love to see your thoughts on the reverse of this. “How to get you boss to trust you.”

    My boss struggles with many of the items above but I realize this is a 2 way street. Some of the issues are cultural and it’s not likely to ever meet my expectations of a good working relationship. That being said, I’d love to improve the situation to the extent that I am able.

    • http://jeremysconfessions.com Jeremy Statton

      I think much of this would apply, but one of the important concepts is that you can’t make anybody trust you. You can do all the right things, and they may still not be convinced.

  • Anonymous

    Related to #2:  “Leadership isn’t about making decisions on your own, but owning decisions once they are made.”  Andy Stanley

    • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

      I like that quote!

    • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

      This really points toward the significance of showing (not just telling) your team that you are “for” them.

    • http://LookingForPurpose.com Dylan Dodson

      Great quote!

  • http://www.forward-living.com W. Mark Thompson

    Like number 3. The encouraging leader has always been my favorite. But it has to be sincere. Otherwise, it just seems like a ploy. Reminds me of Bear Bryant. When his team won, he praised them giving them credit. When they lost, he took the blame. Classy.

    • http://twitter.com/Caleb_Phelps Caleb Phelps

      Great point Mark! A genuine leader will make exponentially more of an impact than prideful selfish leaders.

      • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

        There is nothing worse than a prideful selfish leader. When that happens, they are only following themselves…not God!

    • http://jeremysconfessions.com Jeremy Statton

      Great example.

    • http://www.forward-living.com W. Mark Thompson

      Thanks guys. Not sure if this is appropriate here, but… Roll Tide!  :)

    • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

      True. Sincere praise is great, and people see through false praise.
      Though, false praise still makes someone feel better, even if they know it’s
      not sincere :)

    • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

      Bear Bryant is a great (and classy) example.  People will eventually see through you if you are insincere or just in it for your own advancement.  It makes a difference when you consistently show that it is not all about you but about the others, about the team.

  • Ralph Stoever

    This post
    is highlighting 6 ways to build trust. At the same time, it reminds me of Covey’s (I think) saying that ‘trust must be given, before it can be earned’.

    It also
    reminds me of a book by French politician, author and diplomat Alain Peyrefitte originally
    entitled ‘La société de confiance’ or ‘The society of trust’. In the book, he
    argues that trust is a necessary condition for economic development. The state
    must trust its citizens and the citizens their state, they must also trust each
    other and themselves. He additionally examines the role of religion in building trust and
    in particular the difference between wealthier Protestants nations and groups and lagging Catholics.

    The basic
    message rings true to me at the corporate and individual levels too.

  • http://bentune.blogspot.com/ Ben Tune

    I think numbers 2 and 3 are very important.  I have a personal policy of not “blowing my own horn” but of using the attention to point out the contribution from others.  

  • http://jasonfountain.blogspot.com Jason Fountain

    Great thoughts, Jeremy! The book that changed my life as a leader is Good to Great. I’m not sure why the book resonates so much with me, but I think it just spoke to so much common sense.

    I like your accept confrontation piece. I’m not sure who said this quote, but I love it: “If there are two people in the room and they have the same opinion, then I don’t need one of them.” Our difference should be valued and the best leaders allow for “vigorous debate” (from Good to Great) so long as everyone leaves the room on the same page. It takes a skillful leader to create this environment, but it is powerful.

    • http://twitter.com/Caleb_Phelps Caleb Phelps

      Jason, I think what you said here is key. “It takes a skillful leader to create this environment, but it is powerful.” When a leader can set up an environment that allows for difference of opinions and then bring everyone back to the same consensus, that is extremely powerful!

    • http://jeremysconfessions.com Jeremy Statton

      The goal is not necessary to be right about everything. Nobody can do that. The goal is to share ideas so you can put all of the best parts together to get as close to the right idea as possible. If people are afraid to voice their opinion, though, it will never happen.

  • http://twitter.com/Caleb_Phelps Caleb Phelps

    There are some great truths in this post. Points 1, 2, & 4 really resonate with me. With point 1 Jeremy, you really hit the balance that is needed with being open with people. Open enough for them to approach comfortably but also guarding your heart at the same time. Point 2 is the true mark of a leader to me. If the team leader can take the hit for the team and defend his own flock, then there will be almost immediate increases in respect from his team members. Most of all, point 4 allows for a team to go from mediocre to effective & efficient. When creativity is cultivated and encouraged there are no limits to what can be accomplished.

    • http://jeremysconfessions.com Jeremy Statton

      When you are efficient and effective, it is amazing how much more can get done.

  • John Richardson

    Great post, Dr. Jeremy. One thing that is real important is to show trust and build people up behind the scenes. If you praise people publicly but tear them down privately, the rest of your team will soon catch on that that is how you talk about them. Bottom line, you truly have to care about your team.

    • http://jeremysconfessions.com Jeremy Statton

      Exactly. If you truly care, then all of these things will get much easier.

      • http://refreshmentrefuge.blogspot.com Gina Burgess

        That is so true! One of the most beautiful compliments ever paid to me was when one of my sales reps came into my office and told me she had accepted Jesus as her Savior. With that one moment she told me many things — she knew I was a Christian, she knew I would appreciate knowing of her new birth, and she knew she could trust me with the information. That’s astounding.

        • http://jeremysconfessions.com Jeremy Statton

          What a great testimony.

    • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

      And when you do care for them, they know it and things will flow smoothly. I am constantly working on showing this for the worship band I lead…

      • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

        And even when things don’t flow smoothly, they will give you the benefit of the doubt becuase you have invested in them and shown that they are important and that you really care for them.

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      That’s true John! I am with you.

    • http://www.christopherneiger.com/blog Chris Neiger

      Great thoughts John. The sincerity really needs to be there.

    • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

      Great reminder!  People are constantly watching – not just the ones we are directly dealing with in a moment; but, others who see the situation from a distance.  I agree – people will catch on.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=656683156 Dan Rodriguez

    As Chief Professional Officer with Boys and Girls Clubs,  I work hard to always tell people the the truth even when it hurts…trust is breed in these conversations. 

    • http://jeremysconfessions.com Jeremy Statton

      Although it can be tough, I bet you were always glad you spoke truth.

    • http://jeremysconfessions.com Jeremy Statton

      Even though ti can be tough, I bet you were always glad you spoke the truth.

  • http://jonstolpe.wordpress.com Jon Stolpe

    This is a great post with some great reminders.  I have found that empathy is a great trust builder.  I am now managing a team of people who do what I used to do on a daily basis.  Relating my own experience to what they are going through helps my team know that I feel there pain.  I am also finding that it’s important to be positive.  We have an opportunity build trust, and we also have an opportunity to build attitude.

    • http://jeremysconfessions.com Jeremy Statton

      I like the idea of building attitude.

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      Empathy is true mark of a great leader.

    • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

      Being able to relate to experiences often-times buys us credibility that can otherwise be difficult to earn.

      And I agree with the importance of attitude – people will follow our example.

  • Jan beery

    Love your blog. Very true. One of the ways we engage in my small office is to have devotionals for anyone who wants to participate. It also shares prayer requests and life issues that need support. 
    Also, supporting via encouraging my team to take risks and build up accomplishments and move on from mistakes. 
    Makes for a strong team.

    • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

      I think that is a great idea! I am personally thinking of starting a short Bible reading plan for my worship band. Even more of a reason to start it now…Thanks for sharing!

    • http://jeremysconfessions.com Jeremy Statton

      This can take time, but it is worth the investment.

    • http://refreshmentrefuge.blogspot.com Gina Burgess

      Jan, what a gutsy thing to do! Also a great ministry. If I had done that years ago, things would have been different in my life. I’m glad I have that kind of courage today!

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      Again, team memebers will come up their prayer requests only when there is real trust and unity in the team. Otherwise, things may turn phony.

  • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

    This is great stuff! I really like #6! Seeing the value in others is extremely important!

    • http://jeremysconfessions.com Jeremy Statton

      That one is my favorite too. A good perspective really helps.

      • http://twitter.com/eccle0412 Jackie Anderson

        In regard to #6, I have learned, the reason I may not see things the way someone else does is because we are complementary.  Together a team of varying gifts, views, opinions, understanding, make for a functioning team in a broader sense than one alone or many of the same.  Goal is singular, method is plural, together powerful exponentially.

        • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

          “Goal is singular, method is plural, together powerful exponentially. “- Wow! Wow! Wow!

        • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

          A team utilizing individual’s gifts to their maximum, and appropriate, potential can be an incredible thing.  Learning how to best work together can be a challenge – learning where each other excels and then learning how to get out of each other’s way (not stepping on each other or into roles in which someone else is better suited).

  • Anonymous

    Good stuff!

  • Anonymous

    This was a great post by Dr. Statton.  In my leadership positions, I have always maintained that transparency is very important especially when trying to build trust which I think is the foundation for a good team to work.  I do all I can to empower folks and provide them with boundaries, but not strict rules and offer my assistance if needed, but no that they have to use me.  At the same time, I set clear time expectation and follow up as needed based on those agreed times.  I try to learn as much as a I can about the people on my team.  What they like, don’t like, their family and so forth.  This sometimes makes it easier to talk to them when I can come from a place of common understanding and shows I care about them and not just what they can do for me.  I also agree with the confrontation part.  Even in marriage there are times when people do not agree and a well played discussion takes place.  It is not a fight nor is it a shouting match, it is simply a discussion between some people who are trying to both understand each other’s side while finding some common ground that can lead to some higher ground where they come to an agreement on the issue.  Thanks for the post it was really appreciated.

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      “I set clear time expectation and follow up as needed based on those agreed times.” – Ilike that Whitakerous. I believe that it is an effective working strategy.

      • Anonymous

        Thanks Uma.  I have found these things to help me especially in light of the fact that most of the groups that I am a leader of are in the context of groups or minsitries that do not have a I the boss you are my employee relationship.

        • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

          Agreed Whitakerous! Very true in ministries.

  • http://homekettle.wordpress.com David Nilsen

    Great advice. I’m preparing to open a small business soon, and these will be very helpful things to keep in mind.

    • http://jeremysconfessions.com Jeremy Statton

      Good luck with the business.

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      Just go on David! My best wishes! Entrepreneurism is a great challenge. You will enjoy it as you venture with passion.

  • Anonymous

    Great article! I’ve been under the leadership of both kinds of leaders… 

    The biggest thing I think, is that I would pretty much follow the leader that I trust, anywhere they needed me to go, simply because I trust them. Not so for the leader I don’t have much faith in… (and are they even a leader if they don’t have your trust?)

    • http://refreshmentrefuge.blogspot.com Gina Burgess

      Darius, this is a great point! If the person “in charge” is not trusted, cannot be trusted, then they really aren’t a leader.

    • http://jeremysconfessions.com Jeremy Statton

      Trust can be very powerful.

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      Agreed Dariud! Trust is a compelling factor.

    • http://jeremysconfessions.com Jeremy Statton

      At some point you may be asked to take a leap of faith. Its hard to do without established trust.

  • bethanyplanton

    Micro-managing (#4) is definitely one of the quickest ways to loose trust. Every time I am micro-managed, I feel like I can’t do the job right so why do I even have the job in the first place. Trust me to do my job and I will trust you to do yours. 

    • http://jeremysconfessions.com Jeremy Statton

      The source of micro-managing is often a lack of trust.

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      Insecure and doubting leaders tend to micro-manage.

  • http://twitter.com/eccle0412 Jackie Anderson

    Thank you Mr. Hyatt.  A perfect post for me today. ( I like the recovering legalist Dr. Statton). I have been following this blog for a few months.  A returning student at 45 with 2 other children in college, I have been working and waiting for the next place for me.  The blogs etc.,  many books and catalyst podcasts have been significantly influential.  Yesterday I signed an offer for a management position.  I am excited about putting to practice the leadership skills I see  in your personal example and learn from your various directives.  (Godin in Linchpin reminded me to give thanks!)  God commends it also.  Rejoicing, learning, desperately dependent.  Sincerely grateful.

    • http://jeremysconfessions.com Jeremy Statton

      Godin and Catalyst are both great resources.

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      “recovering legalist” :) :) : )

    • http://wewannado.com Ryan Knight

      Saw Godin at CFA Leadercast and really liked him. Haven’t read Linchpin yet but sounds like a good one. 

  • Joe Lalonde

    Some very good points there Mike! After being in a few not so great jobs and my wife being in a not good job, number 3 is a truth. You need to build up those working under you. Give them the confidence to succeed and advance. Not only will it help them, it will help build you up also.

    • http://jeremysconfessions.com Jeremy Statton

      I have found this to be incredibly true with my children and my patients. If I build them up they do much better, but if I show indifference, then it breaks them down.

      • Joe Lalonde

        Jeremy, thanks for the reply and insight.  Great to see it is working with your kids and patients.

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      ” You need to build up those working under you.” — That’s a great bleassing a follower can have from his leader

      • Joe Lalonde

        Uma, I agree. It is probably the best thing a leader can do for those under him. To make one feel valued can be worth more than what you’re paying them.

        • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

          True Joe! Helping other create their self esteem is a noble deed.

  • bethanyplanton

    I really believe and try to practice of servant leadership. Followers will live out what they see modeled for them. 

    • http://www.forward-living.com W. Mark Thompson

      Great comment Bethany. Can’t go wrong with Servant Leadership! 

      • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

        Agreed Mark!

    • http://jeremysconfessions.com Jeremy Statton

      I love the term “servant leadership.”

      • bethanyplanton

        Me too. It helps to remind me what my leadership needs to look like. 

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      Servant leadership is what Jesus practised while he was in earth. Every Christian leader should be practising servant leadership.

    • Joe Lalonde

      Bethany, that is true. To lead well, you must serve well.

    • Anonymous

      Very good point.  I agree.  I think that Jesus gives us a great model for how to be servant leaders.

  • http://refreshmentrefuge.blogspot.com Gina Burgess

    Trust building is an ongoing process. Get rid of favoritism, but do reward hard work and trustworthiness by releasing the leash. Find a way to motivate the workers that do need a leash and that will build their work ethic and esteem.

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      I am sailing with you in the same boat Gina! I can relate to what you say from my personal experience. Favoritism … a great killer of the team spirit..

      • http://refreshmentrefuge.blogspot.com Gina Burgess

        Well, row harder Uma… let’s get somewhere today :D

        • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

          Thanks Gina! :) :) :)

  • http://bryanalla.in Bryan Allain

    great post, Jeremy!

    • http://jeremysconfessions.com Jeremy Statton

      Thanks Bryan.

  • http://twitter.com/ChristianRay Christian Ray Flores

    I love the Getting Read of the LEash bit. Connectivity between leader and follower is important but the leash is a post industrial revolution thing that is bankrupt as an idea. 

    On Power and Influence and why we should not shy away from it check out The Third Drive (www.christianrayflores.com) 

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

       Connectivity is rare commodity these days!

    • http://jeremysconfessions.com Jeremy Statton

      A leash is a great way to stifle creativity.

  • http://thewholedangthing.wordpress.com Ben Emerson

    I build trust by spending time doing things other than the stuff the team exists for. We hang out and get to know each other. We play games. That kind of stuff.

    I think as far as point #1 goes, any time you expose yourself you risk being taken advantage of. You just have to decide that it’s worth the risk.

    Congrats on the guest post Jeremy!

    • Joe Lalonde

      Ben, that’s a good thing to do with your team. I think it does help build trust. I remember a former boss having co-workers over for game night and it helped strengthen the team.

    • http://jeremysconfessions.com Jeremy Statton

      Good to see you here Ben.

  • http://wewannado.com Ryan Knight

    This is great advice.  Leaders need to do more to grow the people under them instead of treating them like a machine/commodity that just pumps out work.  It may be more work but it has much greater return.

    Another post I’d love to see would be how to deal with poor leadership as an employee.  If you feel that your leaders aren’t committed to you should you quit or stay and try to do well with what you got?

    • http://jeremysconfessions.com Jeremy Statton

      Tough question. Great topic.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      That is a great post idea. Thanks. I don’ think I have written on that before.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      This is not quite the answer you are looking for, but some of it might be helpful, Ryan. It is a post I wrote a while back called, “How to Coach Your Boss.”

      • http://wewannado.com Ryan

        Thanks Michael for the extra link. That’s a great post on approaching the boss situation when you’re the employee. It goes well with today’s post and a lot of the same principles apply. 

  • http://www.christopherneiger.com/blog Chris Neiger

    These are great tips. Simple and practical, yet when they’re implemented I think they can build a strong team. Thanks for the great post!

  • Kay Wilson

    Thank you Dr. Jeremy, this is great article for trust that is important to all of us as we build a team.

    • http://jeremysconfessions.com Jeremy Statton

      You are welcome, Kay.

  • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

    “Expose yourself.”

    1st of all my conversations today have centered around or been with a 10-week-old puppy so I need some adult time here. That means I’m conversing with each of your points as I read them–thus multiple comments.

    I like short comments–again thus the multiple comments.

    Now to point 1 (’bout time). I’m reading “A Million Miles…” currently and what makes Donald Miller’s writing so compelling is his self-deprecating humor and willingness to expose himself (although honestly, Mike, we’ve go to rename point number one).

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Ha! That did cross my mind. “To the pure, all things are pure” (Titus 1:15).

      • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

        Well, there you go.

    • http://jeremysconfessions.com Jeremy Statton

      Patrick Lencioni wrote a book called “Getting Naked,” and I drew off of his euphemism.

      With regards to “A Million Miles …” great book. Read it for the second time this past weekend after hearing Don speak a couple weeks ago.

  • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

    Take the hit.

    This has a wow factor to it. If anyone has ever taken the hit for me (or I’ve seen it demonstrated for another), I’m all in for that person. He or she has bought my unwavering loyalty.

    I think that’s why Walmart initially got my attention ages ago. Bring in an item. Get your refund. No questions asked. They would take the hit (i.e. loss).

    Though they have since changed their policy, it originally bought them my loyalty which still has some residual effects even years later.

    And the obvious greatest hit factor ever is the one Jesus took for us all. Thus, he’s got my undying devotion.

    • http://jeremysconfessions.com Jeremy Statton

      When we are tempted to blame shift it can be good to think about the cross. Not only did he not point the finger at others, he took on the punishment for sin he did not commit for the good of others.

    • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

      Amen. Jesus took the hit for us, which is why so many of us are devoted to
      him. Good comment.

  • http://sevensentences.com Geoff Talbot

    Take the hit. Really spoke to me Jeremy. Really great blog entry, so succinctly put. I learned a lot.

    I think the mess (disagreement) is crucial if the relationships are going to build and deepen both horizontally and vertically with in the working environment.

    Conflict processed well is a healthy sign.

    It’s tough when not all team members have the same ability is emotional resilience to handle disagreements though? Some people are brittle and more sensitive, others of us are proud.

    How do you handle a person within your team that has an emotional immaturity that doesn’t allow them to process conflict in a healthy way?

    • http://jeremysconfessions.com Jeremy Statton

      I agree with you that being able to process conflict well requires maturity. Maturity comes for some through instruction and good examples. For most of us it comes by learning the hard way. Maturity cannot be forced, and undoubtedly someone will respond poorly. If an immature person trusts you, then it will be easier for them to deal with the conflict.

      • http://sevensentences.com Geoff Talbot

        Thanks Jeremy… patience is obviously important as is safety to express ones views even if they may be a little crazy… The acceptance that comes after that allows for growth…

        Definitely helped me in my own journey anyway

  • Jmhardy97

    As a leader, trust is one of the hardest things to gain and one of the easiest things to lose. I had a manager start this week and the first thing that they did was try to use their influence before they gain trust. It always backfires when you do this. Trust must be earned.

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      Ya! It’s true! An impeccable trust takes a lifetime to build. And 60 seconds to lose.

  • http://www.mitchcarnell.com Mitch

    Trust is the foundation of any lasting relationship. Take a look at my, “168 Ways To Communicate Better Now,” at http://www.mitchcarnell.com.

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      That was awesome Mitch! Thanks for sharing the website

    • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

      Good, straight forward, written in bite-sized chunks. I like short and simple (fits my attention span which is a smidge longer than asparagus). Thanks for connecting us with your thoughts.

    • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

      Good website, Mitch. Thanks for the link.

  • Pingback: Weekend Reads – June 4, 2011 | Brevis from Bob Ewoldt()

  • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

    First of all, Dr. Statton, appreciate your observations and willingness to share them here.

    Get rid of the leash.

    I recently blogged about something I observed in a new-in-our-home puppy’s behavior. I’m still working through the tension/connection between trust and curiosity. Trust becomes the tether that ties two personalities together  which means a “leash” is unnecessary.

    Your thought is the leash’s absence builds trust because it releases curiosity or creativity within the team. I’d definitely agree with that statement.

    And you repeat a common theme among successful leaders–embracing failure as a good thing.

    I like what 4-Star General Stanley McChrystal said in a TED talk: “Leaders can let you fail and yet not let you be a failure.”

    Thanks for the reminder.–Tom

    (Mike, above quote tucked away in Evernote files and easily retrieved, by the way.)

  • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

    Accept confrontation.

    We talked about conflict in Sunday school last week but I walked in after the discussion was well underway. I looked at the discussion from a writer’s perspective. I said, “No conflict no story.”

    We generally want to avoid conflict and confrontation but, in order to move to the next level (whether you’re talking about a team or a friendship), you have to face conflict. You have to be comfortable with confrontation.

    The level of trust does impact the willingness to confront. My wife and I don’t tiptoe around differences in opinion. But after 28 years of marriage, we’re not afraid of those differences because of our level of trust. Shoot after 28 years of anything, you pretty much know that person likes you. That’s a trust thing.

  • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

    Find the value in each person.

    I coach football in the fall (high school freshman not The University or even Thee University). One of my favorite things to do is tell a kid why he’s valuable to the team. And even freshman high school coaches recruit.

    I see a guy and I tell him something like this. “You’ve got a gift. You’ve got size.” Or if it’s someone who isn’t the next Refrigerator Perry: “You’ve got a gift. You’ve got speed.”

    I may not know much about football (thus freshman coach and not varsity coach) but I do know kids (and people in general). They like to know they have value.

    Don’t we all?

    Dr. Statton, I appreciate your practical advice that hits on a great subject–trust and team building.–Tom

    • http://jeremysconfessions.com Jeremy Statton

      Thanks for the example. Some have speed. Others have size. More importantly, a few will have passion. Utilize all of these.

      • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

        Then there’s Adrian Peterson.

        Actually, the “more importantly” hits on the coach’s/leader’s target for his or her team. Find that passion and you’ve hit the mother lode.

        Thanks for providing a place and a topic to sharpen the focus of leadership and team building.

        In practical terms, if I provide an atmosphere that fans the flames of passion (in my case for football), then I can see the fire in players’ eyes. And it shows up on game day.

        Practice/prep time needs to equip (which usually is a leader’s focus) but it also needs to fuel passion. The tension is in finding the balance.

  • Tk Beyond

    This is a great post… these things are exactly what is needed to be heard nowadays… as always. They are the very same things my wife & I have learned, especially while serving in the Philippines during the 90’s & early 2000’s.
    Thanks for the reminder & for expressing it so clearly!
    TK

  • Psalm79

    It may be easy to tell some how to do but then do we display what we say?

    • http://jeremysconfessions.com Jeremy Statton

      Saying is much easier than doing, but failure in the doing does nit make the saying less true. Find a weakness. Describe the need for change. Set goals. And then, when you fall down, learn and change the goal to make it better.

  • http://dustinstout.com Dustin W. Stout

    Great post Michael! Thank you!

  • Lucy

    Does anyone have any advice for people who work under a leader that they don’t trust?  The new leader of my team has no respect for me and my colleagues – to the point where we are all considering quitting. This guy seems to do the opposite of what a leader should do. My boss keeps saying that this new guy is a “production guy and he’s here to get results” but I don’t see he’s going to get any production when his team is not behind him.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I am working on a blog post about this now. Thanks.

      • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

        Michael, how far in advance do you write for your blog? Do you have a lot
        of different posts in draft form at any given time?

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          I usually have dozens of ideas at any given time and several posts in various stages of being outlined. However, I usually don’t finish my posts until the night before.

          • bethanyplanton

            I love the fact that your posts reference things that are currently happening. 

  • http://LookingForPurpose.com Dylan Dodson

    #2 can be very encouraging and inspiring to your team members. It shows you don’t think of yourself as above anyone else.

    • http://jeremysconfessions.com Jeremy Statton

      I think this is important to build real trust.

  • Anonymous

    As always, fantastic advice. I work so much harder when someone puts their full trust in me to get the job done right the first time. If I’m micromanaged, I start to wonder why I’ve been asked to do the job and it’s insulting. If you make your team feel like they can do anything, they will bust their rears for you. Belittle them and they’ll  stop trying. 

    Blessings,
    Mel
    Please feel free to stop by: Trailing After God

  • http://www.frymonkeys.com Alan Kay

    One of the things I say is; encourage diversity in your team. People are bound to do things differently from you. If you do a good job explaining the desired outcomes and use the parenting rule, ‘It’s what they see you doing, not just what you say’, then it’s easier to accept the variety of interpretations of your direction that will be delivered. 

    • http://www.forward-living.com W. Mark Thompson

      Good thoughts. “Do as I say not as I do” has always been a weak foundation for leadership. Even children can see through it.

  • http://darensirbough.tumblr.com Daren Sirbough

    As one of the leaders of the music team at my church I am always trying new ways to build trust up. I love the heart of this post because it really is the truth. I’ve found when I’ve opened up about my weaknesses and championed other people, it has given me grounds to speak into someones life significantly.

    • http://jeremysconfessions.com Jeremy Statton

      Sometimes saying that you struggle with something is important for someone else to hear. They may be struggling with the same thing, but too afraid to talk about it.

      • http://darensirbough.tumblr.com Daren Sirbough

        I totally agree with that comment.

  • Momarian

    So much of this can be translated to family. 

    Expose yourself as age limits allow.

    Take the hit – apologize, your kids need to learn it from
    you.

    Build them up – more praise than criticize.

    Get rid of the leash – Don’t do for them what they can do
    for themselves.

    Accept confrontation – they will not always be 2 or
    teenagers

    Find value in each – Accept their differences and help them
    grow their strengths.

    • http://jeremysconfessions.com Jeremy Statton

      I agree with you about applying it to our families as well. It’s easy to think it is different for our kids, but we need to build trust with them as much, or more, as anybody.

    • bethanyplanton

      I completely agree these principles are good to follow for just about any type of relationship one is in. 

  • jordan walter

    Leadership comes from having the moral high ground. Period. If people do not except your vision of the moral high ground, no amount of charisma or strategy will save you. The leader is doomed if the *MESSAGE* is doomed. Here’s some hints for gaining Trust:* Embrace Diversity & Acceptance (including OPEN support for GAY MARRIAGE)* Embrace Humanism (prioritize values of CHARITY, HUMILITY, and GRACE, in that order)* Make it clear that HATE is EVIL by FORBIDDING IT

  • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

    Loved the information presented here.  One I would add to this list is this:  Display integrity.  I believe that making the tough choices, and the right choices, all the time can build up a lot of trust.  Granted, I fail at this occasionally, just like anyone else.  But when I’m consistently seen as being above reproach, that builds trust in my leadership.

    Thanks for a great post!

  • Pingback: 6 ways leaders can build trust | Confessions of a Legalist()

  • Pingback: Find the Value: Building Trust Through Care (part 6) « Trustbuilding Leadership()

  • Pingback: 6 ways leaders can build trust | Shining City Blog()

  • http://twitter.com/ChrissieSlash Chrissie Noncedo Sam

    Find the value in each person. it stands out for me

  • Pingback: On academic leadership, from Confessions of a Science Librarian « Phx Friends of UA SIRLS()

  • Pingback: On academic leadership [Confessions of a Science Librarian] | Digital Brain ; Science and Technology News()

  • Pingback: How to Get the Most Out of Your Project Team | | BootStrapTodayBootStrapToday()

  • Pingback: Surprises Can Undermine Trust - ThinSpacer.com()

  • diana uribe

    How do you lead a divided team where one of the subgroups works to undermine and labors to garner more members to their side?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      If I were the leader, I would confront it head-on. Lose ’em now or lose ’em later.

  • shawonr

    Team building activities are stimulating problem-solving tasks designed to help group members develop their capacity to work effectively together. Many team building and initiative tasks are like kids games, others are novel, complex tasks and designed for specific needs. More elaborate initiative tasks can involve ropes courses, night-time activities, and exercises lasting over several days.