Creating Trust for Emotionally Intelligent Leaders – 4 Components of Trust
I recently spoke with the senior VP of Human Resources of a Silicon Valley company regarding providing executive coaching for the company CEO who she described as having some blind spots related to developing trust. She asked some very insightful questions to determine fit. She specifically wanted to know how I work with different personality styles, and my methods for helping cultivate a culture of trust.

The senior VP of HR and I talked about my approach to executive coaching, and my belief that possessing a psychological understanding of human behavior based on neuroscience and emotional intelligence are important competencies for coaching executives. We also spoke of the need for her company to create a high involvement culture where innovation and creativity flourish.

The senior VP of HR is interested in collaborating with me in helping create a high involvement corporate culture based on trust and respect. We further discussed how company executives might benefit by working with a seasoned emotional intelligence-based executive coach.

4 Components of Trust

“It’s not enough to keep your word; others have to be aware that you are doing it. And here is where it gets sticky. Like beauty, behavioral integrity is in the eye of the beholder. Consistently keeping promises and living by your stated principles are difficult tasks. Being seen as consistently doing these things is harder still.” ~ Simons

As a leader, you know how fragile trust can be. Four key components contribute to your overall trustworthiness.

1. Credibility (the realm of words): Our level of expertise and how we present our knowledge determine our credibility. When we study facts and complete analytical research, we build up our credibility. We boost credibility in our business conversations by:

  1. Developing formidable expertise in our industry

  2. Staying current with industry trends and business news

  3. Offering our point of view (when we have one)

  4. Being willing to say “I don’t know” when this is an honest answer

  5. Expressing passion for our areas of expertise

  6. Communicating with self-assurance (a firm handshake, direct eye contact, a confident air)

2. Reliability (the realm of actions): Do you fulfill the promises you make? Do you deliver on your commitments? Reliability is built over time, but it can be destroyed in a second. Boost your reliability with consistency, predictability and certainty:

  1. State expectations up front. Regularly reinforce them.

  2. Make lots of small promises, and consistently follow through on them.

  3. Be prompt.

  4. Communicate if you fall behind. Take responsibility for delays.

  5. Respect organizational norms and culture.

3. Intimacy (the realm of emotions): While credibility and reliability are predictable, workplace intimacy can be tricky. It’s easy to keep a professional distance in our interactions, but the “all-business” leader rarely gets ahead. We need and should seek trusted relationships at work. Without openness and transparency, the real issues will never surface.

The problem with intimacy is that the word carries a connotation of closeness that isn’t appropriate at work. In reality, intimacy refers to your willingness to share appropriate information about the things that truly matter. In short, can you speak with candor?

Boost intimacy by sharing personal experiences and values. Learn to:
  1. Listen beyond the words. Pick up on tone, emotion and mood. Acknowledge these elements aloud.

  2. Tell people what you really appreciate about them. Don’t keep it to yourself!

  3. Use people’s names in conversations.

  4. Share something personal about yourself. This makes you more human and interesting.

4. Self-Orientation (the realm of motives): Without doubt, we are all self-motivated to a degree. But we also want what’s best for others, the company or the team. How often do you speak about yourself: your wants, needs, goals and priorities? Are you oriented toward finding win-win solutions that take others’ needs into account?
When trust breaks down, excess self-orientation is usually to blame. You can lower your level of self-orientation in relationships by:
  1. Taking time to find the best solution

  2. Sharing time, resources and ideas

  3. Asking lots of questions from a place of curiosity and figuring out your partner’s definition of success

  4. Negotiating for a true win-win

  5. Listening even when it’s uncomfortable to be silent

  6. Speaking hard truths, even when it’s awkward

  7. Giving your partner the credit for ideas and achievements

You can develop the qualities of trustworthy leadership by working with a professional coach. The investment is well worth the reward: your ability to influence the future, your career and your personal-development capabilities.

Are you working in a company where executive coaches provide leadership development to help leaders put trust building leadership skills into action? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to be more conscious, and tap into the trust of followers? Positive leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more fulfilling future.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Am I a trust building leader who inspires individuals and organizations to achieve their highest potential, flourish at work, experience elevating energy and achieve levels of effectiveness difficult to attain otherwise?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching to help leaders develop more positive teams.