“I tell my team all the time how great they are,” one leader recently told me. Yet, I knew from conversations with her team members that they felt their leader did not see them as competent and did not trust them with high-level work. While she said how great they were, her actions told a different story. And as the adage goes, “actions speak louder than words.” Saying one thing and doing another thing that contradicts what we say is something many of us unintentionally do – and it hinders our leadership and trust-building. Here are three ways to ensure your leadership behaviors match your words.

  • Share as much information as you can – If you keep information to yourself, your team will feel in the dark about what is going on in the organization. They’ll find people in other departments who have the scoop, and that’s how they will stay up on what is going on. To avoid having your team learn more from their peers than from you, err on the side of over-communication. Even information that is not fully complete can be shared if you make it clear that it is still evolving. If you don’t have the information that your team wants, tell them that too, and then let them know when you expect to have more information and when you’ll share it.
  • Get out of the weeds – Nothing spells distrust more than micromanagement. Having your team provide you with frequent status reports and field constant inquiries about their progress on projects increases their frustration and sends a message that you believe they need constant monitoring and close supervision. Instead, start operating more strategically and more in-line with your level of responsibility. Establish reasonable check-in and update procedures that allow your team to make some decisions, operate autonomously, and gain experience in solving problems.
  • Offer meaningful and specific feedback – Telling your team that they “did a great job” is nice, but it does not move the needle on their development and growth. Moreover, comments that sound like platitudes feel insincere and are apt to be dismissed. Instead provide real-time substantive feedback about what the team member specifically did, what you saw in them, and the impact their behavior had on the situation.

Building trust with your team requires the alignment of your words and actions. It requires an understanding of what each of your team members need, and it requires your willingness to get out of their way and let your team grow.

What do you do to build trust and match your actions to your words? Click here to comment.

If you enjoyed this post, you can read more like it in our book, The Power of Thoughtful Leadership: 101 Minutes To Being the Leader You Want To Be, available on Amazon.

To learn more about leading in alignment, contact Robyn at rmcleod@chatsworthconsulting.com.

Click here to receive The Thoughtful Leaders™ Blog posts via e-mail and receive a copy of “Ending Leadership Frenzy: 5 Steps to Becoming a More Thoughtful and Effective Leader.”

Photo Credit: vepar5/Bigstock.com

New York: 212.537.6897 | Pennsylvania: 610.254.0244