“We can build our leadership upon fear, obligation, or trust. However, only a foundation of trust results in the collaboration and goodwill necessary to achieve our peak performance.”
These words, from organizational design expert Roger Allen, could hardly be more succinct in expressing the central role that trust plays in building and leading high-performance organizations.
With the integrity of our business leaders under such a microscope these days, it’s valuable to take a moment for a refresher on trust in leadership. For integrity, though critical to trust, isn’t the only element of a trust-based management style. According to Seattle-based management expert Stephen Robbins, trust is based on four other distinct elements in your relationship with the people you lead:
With organizations, leaders and individuals so fervently focused on the bottom line, it’s easy to ignore “softer” goals, such as listening well. All that touchy-feeling stuff is a waste of my time, you might say or think.
On the contrary! A focus on listening can lead to more effective teamwork, higher productivity, fewer conflicts and errors, enhanced innovation and problem-solving, improved recruiting and retention, superior customer relations and more. As authors on leadership development have noted through the years, listening is not just a nice thing to do, it’s essential!
“Make the human element as important as the financial or the technical element,” wrote Stephen Covey in his seminal book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. “You save tremendous amounts of time, energy and money when you tap into the human resources of a business at every level. When you listen, you learn.