Stephen M.R. Covey continues his discussion on trust and illustrates his point by alluding to a metaphor his father sometimes used of a trust account: a balance of trust in an account. Deposits are made through behaviors that increase the amount of trust in the relationship and withdrawals, conversely, are the behaviors that take away from the amount of trust in the relationship.
This, he explains, is something we must be aware of as leaders. Covey then identifies thirteen common behaviors among high trust leaders, that when adopted, lead to making deposits in the trust accounts of others.
13 Behaviors of High Trust Leaders
Remember that character and competence are what build credibility and credibility is the foundation on which all trust is built.
The first 5 listed are behaviors of character:
1) Talk Straight – Be honest. Tell the truth. Demonstrate integrity. Don’t manipulate people or distort facts. Don’t spin the truth or leave false impressions.
2) Demonstrate Respect – Respect the dignity of every person and every role. Don’t fake caring or attempt to be “efficient” with people.
3) Create Transparency – Declare your intent without having hidden agendas or hiding information. Be open and authentic.
4) Right Wrongs – Make restitution where possible. Demonstrate humility and don’t cover things up.
5) Show Loyalty – Give credit to others and speak about people as if they were present. To attain loyalty with those who are with you, maintain loyalty to those who aren’t with you.
Now, pick one of these five behaviors and commit to working on it. Be aware that any behavior pushed to the extreme becomes a negative. Too little or too much of a behavior is a weakness. Find the sweet spot and you find your strength.
The second 5 behaviors are that of competence:
6) Deliver Results – Establish a track record of results. Accomplish what you’re hired to do and don’t overpromise or under deliver.
7) Get Better – Continuously improve. Be a constant learner and act upon feedback you receive.
8) Confront Reality – Take issues head on, even the “undiscussables.” Confront issues before they turn into major problems.
9) Clarify Expectations – Don’t assume that expectations are clear or shared. Discuss them, validate them, and renegotiate them if needed.
10) Practice Accountability – Hold yourself accountable first and then others second. Take responsibility for the results, good or bad.
Choose one of these 5 behaviors of competence and dedicate the effort and time to develop it.
The last 3 are combined character and competence behaviors:
11) Listen First – Listen before you speak. Understand. Diagnose. Don’t presume you have all the answers – or all the questions.
12) This is the big one! Keep Commitments – Say what you’re going to do and do what you say you’re going to do. Don’t break confidences.
13) Extend Trust – Demonstrate a propensity to trust. This is what makes you a leader. Don’t withhold trust because there is risk involved.
Select one of these three behaviors to actively work on. Going forward you have your core credibility (from Part 1) and your 3 behaviors you have chosen to improve upon. When you develop these behaviors you will increase trust not only in your business relationships but also your personal relationships.
Remember, as a leader, it is your job to go first. Trust is reciprocal. “He who does not trust enough, will not be trusted. No trust given, none received.” – Lao Tzu