Last week, I wrote a blog on the “trust busters” that get in the way of sales people building relationships with customers. That got me thinking about “leadership trust busters.”
Trust is the “glue” that holds teams together and is the “oil” for effective collaboration to get things done. Trust strengthens relationships and makes communication easier. Trust makes everyone’s life better.
What then are the “trust busters” that prevent productivity between leaders and team members? Let’s look at 8 of them.
1. Poor Listening
Not being fully engaged with the person or team that is trying to communicate with you sends the signal “you are not important enough for me.” The antidote is to ensure your eyes, body and voice focus on the messenger. Put the smartphone away! Ask more questions and confirm your understanding.
“Hanging over someone’s shoulder” while they try to accomplish their work sends the signal “I don’t think you are capable to do the job.” This could be physically or electronically. The best way to avoid this is to ensure you delegate an assignment properly, establish checkpoints, and express confidence in the person or team you have assigned the job to.
3. Setting Unclear Goals
The opposite tack of micromanaging is setting unclear goals or incomplete instructions for an assignment. This is frustrating for both the assignment taker and the leader because the job may be done incorrectly, not on time, or even the job specs can change or incorrect assumptions made! Headache! Set clear and complete goals and allow the person to ask questions.
4. Taking Credit for the Team or Another’s Work Success
Some leaders think, “I lead them team, therefore I take leadership credit.” Best to take the approach John Maxwell uses “Leaders find a way for the team to win.” This in practice means give credit and recognition to those responsible for the success, and take the heat for the team when things do not go so well.
5. Being a Critic or Recognition Miser
Many bosses believe their job is to improve the work of their employees. The rub comes in the how this is communicated. Being consistently overly critical of work or demeaning of others is a real de-motivator. Be aware of your triggers and stressors when work goes wrong, learn how to give constructive feedback, and recognize work well done. Be balanced in inspiring others to do well.
6. Using Communication Stoppers
These are used to get people to stop talking so the leader can get his/her point of view across. The most common ones are “Yes, but... and “I understand, but.... or blatantly cutting another off before they finish their sentence. These are best eliminated with a mindset of “I believe this person has something valuable to say,” or, “I can learn more by listening,” or, “I must be careful to listen so we can solve this.”
7. Intimidating Others
This is management by fear. Trust means your employees are committed to achieve and accomplish. Doing work under fear rarely gets results and distances team members from their supervisor. Coercion, anger, sarcasm and put-downs are the tools of the intimidator. A boss like this may need coaching or even professional help. If you work for a toxic boss like this, you may consider quitting and finding a new job, a new boss.
8. Playing Favorites
Randy Conley of Ken Blanchard Leadership says it best. “One of the most influential factors that crush a person’s spirit is being treated unfairly. Leaders can be fair by treating people equitably and ethically. Being equitable means people receive what they deserve based on the circumstances, and being ethical means the leaders behavior is alignment with the values of the organization and it’s policies and procedures.” Treat people fairly. This does not mean treat everyone equally.
Having trouble in some of these trust busting behaviors? Here are a few resources you may find helpful.
- “The Speed of Trust” by Steven Covey
- “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” by Patrick Lencioni
- “Born to Win” by Dorothy Jongeward and Murial James
- “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership” by John Maxwell
- “Habitudes – The Habits & Attitudes of Leadership” by Tim Elmore
- “Wooden on Leadership” by John Wooden
- “It’s Your Ship” by Mike Abrashoff
- “Trust” by Francis Fukuyama (This is a book on trust at a nation level)
Founder ELAvate!, John Maxwell Team Coach, AchieveForum Master Trainer