During coaching conversations leaders often wonder: “How can I encourage my people to be more accountable?”
You may feel that it’s simply a communication issue – once you learn to communicate better, problem solved. However, as we unravel the concerns around accountability, it becomes abundantly clear that trust – your lack of trust in yourself as a leader, is really the core of your accountability issue.
You may often default to not trusting the capabilities of your people. In an effort to get the job done right you take on their responsibilities. This only leaves your people feeling inadequate and depending on you. Everyone loses and you’re left wondering how to turn this around. It may feel like a repeating loop. You’re stuck with no forward movement while judgment and blame begin to creep in from all sides.
This is part 1 in the 3-part series on your Trust Quotient by Diana Gabriel, Certified Strengths Strategy Coach.Teach while you are helping, always mindful of building their capacity. Click To Tweet
How high is your trust quotient?
A consistent outcome from many large employee surveys tells us that business leaders are among the least trusted professions in today’s culture. Overall, trust in leadership is the main employee concern in the workplace.
Gallup’s research further confirms this by showing that leaders who don’t focus on their people have the trust of only 9% of their staff. Leaders who make people their priority foster a 73% trust level from their employees. This is a stunning statistic that exposes a marked difference in leadership mindsets.
Trust has long been considered a powerful trait that enables leaders to succeed. I see it all the time: people who trust their leader are willing to follow them. They are more willing to engage in their duties, make strong efforts to benefit their organization, take pride in the quality of their work, and feel like their efforts have value. Conversely, a leader who is not trusted can never overcome large, inevitable pitfalls.
Trust is a decisive difference maker in personal and collective prosperity, so it makes sense for leaders to raise their trust quotient as high as possible. If you wonder where to start, I suggest you consider Gallup’s research: the primary leadership mindset needed to establish and build trust is a genuine focus on people. Which makes me ask, why don’t more leaders pursue this? In my experience, leaders, like you, don’t know where to begin. There are four basic elements.
The first basic element…
A Helping Hand
Employees generally want to succeed by doing good work. To do this they need to know what’s expected of them, how to complete their tasks and have the ability to do those tasks well. Due to many complexities and volatilities, your people almost always need some type of help from you.
It may be obvious, but people simply want to be provided with what they need to succeed. This is very different from you taking over and completing the task for them. Doing that creates a dependent relationship between you and your people – you are rescuing them. Most people accurately know what it takes to get their work done. To complete a task, they may need something from their leader but not to take over.
As a leader, you have the responsibility to provide the resources your people need to complete assignments. Adequate funding, supplies, knowledge, or equipment may be required. Listen carefully; your people need to be heard. Teach while you are helping, always mindful of building their capacity to meet their responsibilities.
Sometimes the softer management skills meet the biggest needs. Your people may require further training or coaching. They may hope to be mentored in their growth and skills development. When times get tough, your people want (and need) a positive, helpful, interdependent attitude from you. Being observant and engaging will allow you to see the needs.
If you want to raise your trust quotient, make it a top imperative to provide that which your people need and allow them to meet their responsibilities. People will know they’re being taken care of when they are able to ask for assistance without judgment and you are consistently responsive to them. This fosters security and confidence, which builds their trust.