Feb 18 2021| Leadership | trust
Creating a Culture of Trust - Tactics Part Three
by Phil Eyre Founder
In the third of our series of articles about trust, I want to talk about consistency. Consistency builds stability and security, essential for a high-trust and high performing culture. Leaders who bring their ‘best selves’ consistently to all situations, engender trust in a way that more volatile characters fail to achieve.
- Consistency includes being true to your values, walking the walk, practicing what you preach.
- Consistency is also pursuing objectives with persistence, rather than constantly moving the goal posts.
To improve your consistency:
- Be aware of the energy that you’re bringing and the impact that you’re making in each situation, and:
- Recognise when to calm yourself down, and calm others, or when to raise your energy and inspire others.
- When under pressure, take more, not fewer, breaks - even a few minutes regularly through the day - and reflect on the impact you might have on others around you.
- Recognise the tell-tale signals that you might be about to lose your cool. For me, one signal is the way I’m driving. Another is snacking late at night. Both are signals that I’m not likely to be at my best and need to take care when interacting with others.
- Act in alignment with the objectives of the team and business.
- Don’t launch new initiatives that have little connection with stated objectives. Instead, help people to see that your good ideas will help achieve those things that have been identified as important.
- Act in accordance with your values. Placing words on walls isn’t only pointless, it’s counterproductive if you then act in a way that conflicts with them. Stating that “we put our people first” and then failing to commit to a one-to-one catch up with them, or speaking poorly about them, is inconsistent.
- If your decision changes, re-connect and communicate with those who were part of the first decision before implementing your new decision. For example, one CEO I work with had a habit of making a decision today and changing his mind tomorrow. This undermined trust and performance across the whole senior team. He’s now choosing to hold back his first instinctive decision, reflect overnight, and then bring his more considered decision the team. For him, it’s still his second decision, but his team receive it as his first.
- Keep your promises. For some, this means not making promises quite so readily. One of our clients has the habit of promising the top job to multiple people in order to try to keep them motivated and in the business. This works for all of five minutes, until the promise isn’t delivered, and the colleagues talk to each other anyway.
- Trust quickly evaporates and subsequent promises are then ignored.
- This means not forgetting the promises that you’ve made; being busy is no excuse for failing to deliver on your promises.
- Treat people equitably, i.e. don’t treat ‘favourites’ differently to others.
- Equitable doesn’t necessarily mean exactly the same - that’s where so many HR policies can go wrong.
- Take circumstances into account and applying principles fairly. For example, if you’re willing to sponsor one person’s volunteer trip, you need to be prepared to consider sponsoring them all.
- Hold yourself accountable to the same standards as you hold others. For example, if you have an expenses policy, then abide by it yourself. If you expect people to arrive at meetings on time, be there on time yourself (hint: switch your language from “don’t be late” to “be early”). Don’t excuse yourself from accountability because of your position or the pressure you’re under.
Have you worked for an inconsistent leader? How did this affect your performance? What could they have done that would have improved the situation?