Q: How do I build trust as the new leader of an established team?
Like Rachel Hunter told us in the old Pantene ad, “It won’t happen overnight” …
Trust is built one positive interaction at a time. There are no shortcuts BUT the following steps will heighten your likelihood of success:
1. Know their stories
Go one-on-one and engage the individual. Without being intrusive, use these conversations as a fact-finding mission. What are their passions beyond work, who are the important people in their life, what aspirations do they have from a career standpoint, what strengths do they bring to the team environment, even, what did they appreciate about the approach of their previous leaders? Obviously, it’s important to share some insights like this about yourself too.
2. Deliver value
What can you do to help your team to overcome their work-based frustrations and roadblocks? Using your expertise (or resources) to provide tangible solutions, and remove friction from their daily actions, builds belief in your abilities.
3. Show integrity
Be sure to do what you said you would. Don’t let your enthusiasm to have an impact and share your manifesto build a sense of expectation that you can’t deliver on. In simple terms, if you make commitments – fulfil them.
4. Be Vulnerable
Own any missed step(s) you’ve made to this point, or, take responsibility for any communication lapse(s). Be transparent about your objectives or goals for the group. If you’re really courageous, speak into their concerns around your suitability or capability (if you know them). Show that you have trust in the team by sharing more with them than you otherwise might.
This is a change process, so remember that people will be navigating the Change Curve at different speeds. They will need clarity, support, autonomy and recognition as they progress.
Most importantly though, be aware, the fact you are even asking this question tells me you’re probably well on your way to where you want to be. Most new leaders would likely assume trust come with their new title. It takes humility and emotional intelligence to reach out in this manner, and those attributes will always be a catalyst for success when leading others.
TRUST THE PROCESS!!