“Trust is a critical ingredient for leadership, since few people follow someone they do not trust…You cannot even get out of the starting gate as a leader if others do not believe your words.” ~ Cornell University Professor Tony Simons, The Integrity Dividend: Leading by the Power of Your Word (Jossey-Bass, 2008)
I recently spoke with the senior VP of Human Resources of a Silicon Valley company regarding providing executive coaching for the company CEO. 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 spoke about my approach to 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 partnering with me in helping create a collaborative and high involvement corporate culture based on trust and respect. We further discussed how company executives can benefit by working with a seasoned cognitive executive coach.
A Watson Wyatt Worldwide study of 12,750 U.S. workers in all major industries found that companies with high trust levels outperform their low-trust counterparts by 186 percent.
In a 2011 Maritz survey, only seven percent of more than 90,000 employees worldwide said they trust their senior leaders to look out for their best interests. It’s not just a problem for rank-and-file employees. Roughly half of all managers distrust their leaders, according to a Golin Harris survey of 450 executives at 30 global companies.
Despite the importance of trust, few leaders give it the focus it deserves. Misunderstood as a nebulous “feeling,” trust is earned through consistent, positive behaviors practiced over time, making it an indispensable leadership skill.
“Trust always affects two outcomes—speed and cost,” confirms leadership guru Stephen M. Covey in The Speed of Trust (Free Press, 2008). “When trust goes down, speed will also go down and costs will go up. When trust goes up, speed will also go up and costs will go down. It’s that simple, that real, that predictable.”
Your success as a leader depends on the degree to which stakeholders trust you. Whether you’re a business developer, salesperson, client relationship manager, C-level executive, consultant or manager, you need to master the principles of trust and put them into daily practice. You must train your thinking and change your habits to earn the trust necessary to be influential, successful and recognized as someone who makes a difference.
Two of the best books on this important topic are:
- The Trusted Advisor (Free Press, 2001), by leadership consultants David Maister, Charles Green and Robert Galford
- The Trusted Advisor Fieldbook: A Comprehensive Toolkit for Leading with Trust (Wiley, 2011), by Charles H. Green and Andrea P. Howe.
Their authors offer several key truths:
- Trust grows; it doesn’t just appear.
- Trust is rational and fact-based and emotional and intuitive.
- Trust is a two-way street, experienced differently by each person in the relationship.
- Trust is intrinsically about taking risks.
- Trust is always personal; you place trust in people.
You can develop the qualities of positive 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 positive leadership into action? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to be more conscious, and tap into the intrinsic motivation 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 positive 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.
Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help leaders nurture mindful conversations in the workplace. You can become an inspiring leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company or law firm.