by Tony Richards
In leadership it’s always nice if people like you, and at the same time, they must absolutely trust you on some level in order for you to achieve any kind of peak performance.
Which do you think enhances trust more?
Your brilliant words or your consistent behavior?
Yay for the people who picked consistent behavior! In leadership, to achieve the best possible results you must make the decision to behave in a fashion which inspires trust at all times. This has a lot to do with emotional intelligence (E.Q.), because many times it is our emotional swings which breaks down all the trust we have worked so hard to build up.
It takes practice and mastery in the area of self-awareness to figure out the clues of how you behave in certain situations and what results come from that behavior. When people trust each other, they stop playing games. They begin to look beyond temporary setbacks or problems. It’s really a results-oriented high-growth atmosphere. This all starts with leadership, because peak performing leaders are not only likable, they themselves are trustworthy. Remember give-get? To get trust you must give trust first.
What steps do we take in order to achieve this?
1. Always be open. What information is there that you have which really can not be shared? I would venture to guess not much. I would guess most of what you can not share with people are things you have not really decided upon as of yet. Of course you may hesitate to share that liberally since you have made no firm decision. At the same time, the information that is factual, why not be open with it? This typically revolves around financial results, but really who cares? Let’s think about this. If there is someone you can’t share with, you have to ask yourself, why not? And why are they still here?
2. People who have been nasty to you must be treated with respect. This is a hard one isn’t it? I just saw Jamie Dimon testify yesterday before a governmental sub-committee and some of the Senators obviously had no clue what they were doing and some were downright factually incorrect and wrong. While some of these people were obviously not at Mr. Dimon’s level and some of them were attacking him, his emotional intelligence was a case study for every aspiring leader. He simply answered the questions without any biting counter-attack or overt facial expression. I don’t know what happened behind closed doors, but in front of a global audience, he killed it. I want you to notice the difference in Sen. Merkley’s E.Q. and Mr. Dimon’s. Watch how Mr. Merkley has to resort to positional power when he can not admit the inaccuracy of his statements and then asserts that Mr. Dimon should have been fired in 2008.
Isn’t it interesting how Jamie Dimon manages himself when confronted in this way? How would you manage yourself if someone put you on the hot seat and declared to the world you should have been fired four years ago? Amazing.
3. Always tie up any promises from the past. What have you as a leader promised and you haven’t delivered upon? Simply make it right, whatever it is. At least, bring the subject up for discussion. Your respect will grow ten fold. If you are avoiding it, hoping the subject never again gets brought up, you are sitting on a festering time bomb.
4. Help someone who can do nothing for your benefit. People like to see this in people, when they offer assistance to someone who can not further their obvious agenda. Locate some “no strings attached” people you can help out. Help because you can, not for what it will do for you.
5. Stop the blaming ritual. If something goes wrong, stop all blaming immediately. Don’t look to hang it on someone. Instead, foster learning in your organization. Always find the lesson in the problem or mistake. Add it to your growing database of things to avoid in the future, rather than your list of complaints about a person.