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Trust Needs To Be Earned — Not Demanded. Here Are 5 Crucial Leadership Elements to Earn Your Team's Trust. You have to maintain a high level of trust across your team to ensure buy-in for collective efforts toward a shared company goal.

By Kash Hasworth Edited by Maria Bailey

Key Takeaways

  • Building a culture of trust can accelerate your team's performance.

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Trust – it's the performance-enhanced steroid that can transform even the most diverse group of misfits into a high-performance team. Without it, standards and expectations aren't taken seriously and productivity suffers greatly.

You have to maintain a high level of trust across your team to ensure buy-in for collective efforts toward a shared company goal. Gaining your team's trust, though, doesn't happen spontaneously. It requires a great deal of authenticity, clear communication, strong and stable support, integrity and a whole lot of consistency.

Having led hundreds of individuals across multiple industries and levels of leadership, including vice president of sales and now CEO, I learned some insightful gems to earn those positions. Here are a few lessons for other leaders aiming to create a culture of trust and extract peak performance from their teams.

1. Authenticity

In an era filled with curated personas and the mentality of "fake it til you make it," authenticity stands out as a refreshing departure from the norm. And just like a well-timed, sarcastic zinger in the middle of a boring and quiet waiting room, authenticity has a way of cutting through the noise (or silence, in this case) and creating an instant connection. People have a great appreciation for authentic personalities. We'd rather work with a jerk who is direct and tells it how it is over someone who shares misinformation to just people please and avoid confrontation.

So, how can you demonstrate authenticity in the eyes of your team? The answer lies in staying true to yourself and being transparent with others. Expressing your thoughts, feelings, and viewpoints openly (yet tactfully), allows your unique personality to shine through. By being genuine, your team will recognize your sincerity, laying the foundation for trust.

Related: 3 Ways Authentic Leaders Inspire and Retain Employees

2. Communication

Saying nothing says a lot, and is a proven path to damaging your team's confidence in you as a leader. Clear, consistent and honest communication is at the heart of leadership. To develop trust within your team, you have to communicate clearly and consistently.

Start by articulating your vision, objectives and expectations to your team, ensuring everyone aligns with the same goals. Encourage open conversation and an environment where team members feel comfortable expressing their thoughts, ideas and concerns free from judgment. And when things go wrong, as they inevitably will, don't hide behind a wall of silence. Address issues head-on and keep your team in the loop. Remember, a well-informed team is a trusting team.

Related: Why Effective and Influential Leaders Focus on Direct Communication

3. Elevate your team

Great leadership in its purest form is elevating those around you. When you focus on elevating your team — helping them to grow, learn and improve — you create an environment of trust, empowerment and explosive growth. You're showing them that their development is important to you and that you believe in their potential.

This isn't just about professional skills; it's about personal growth as well. By investing in them as individuals, and showing a genuine interest in their aspirations and challenges, you're building a deep, foundational level of trust. This trust breeds loyalty, open communication, and a culture where everyone feels valued and heard. As a result, you enhance team morale, productivity and overall cohesion.

Here are a few effective strategies I've implemented over the years to elevate my team:

1. Skill development workshops and training. As a leader, it's important to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your team. Regularly conducting skill development workshops or training sessions helps your team members polish their existing skills and acquire new ones. You can start by asking your team the following questions: What skills are you most interested in developing? How do you think this training will help you perform better at your job?

2. Mentorship programs. Pair less experienced team members with senior members or external mentors. This can provide the opportunity for personal growth and the sharing of wisdom and experience.

Questions to ask: Who do you look up to professionally? What traits or skills do they possess that you aspire to have?

3. Recurring one-on-one sessions. Regular feedback is crucial for personal and professional development. These sessions provide a space for open discussion about performance, challenges and opportunities for growth for both you and the subordinate.

Questions to ask: What challenges are you facing? How can I support you? If you had to put a finger on one thing I could improve on, what would it be?

4. Encourage autonomy. Giving your team the freedom to make decisions creates a sense of responsibility and boosts their confidence.

Questions to ask: What responsibilities would you like to take on to grow in your role? How can I support you in this process?

4. Integrity

Integrity stands as the backbone of trust. Without it, everything crumbles. In the workforce, integrity is simply doing what's right, regardless of who's watching or how inconvenient it may seem. It revolves around honoring your word, acknowledging your errors and making decisions with the team and organization's best interest in mind.

To display integrity, ensure consistency in your actions, and fulfill your commitments. If you say you'll do something, make sure you deliver. In the event of a mistake, accept it, own it and find a solution forward. By continuously operating with integrity, you'll position yourself as a dependable leader your team can trust.

Related: How to Maintain Your Integrity While Keeping Up With a Rapidly Changing Environment

5. Consistency

Excelling in these areas will serve you well, but the ultimate key to long-term sustainability is in your consistency. Trust isn't an event, it's a habit. It's the consistency that establishes a reliable pattern of behavior that your team can depend on.

To be a consistent leader, treat all team members equitably and enforce your policies the same. Strive to have a strong presence in your team's daily activities. Most importantly, be consistent in upholding the qualities above. When your team knows what to anticipate from you, they'll trust you to guide them, even in the face of uncertainty.

Kash Hasworth

Founder & CEO at Solar Ignite Group

Kash Hasworth is a disruptive sales leader, entrepreneur and author of "Selling Keeps You Broke". After scaling a wireless franchise to 28 locations in his early 20s, he emerged as a formidable force in the renewable energy arena. He arms his readers with the tools to learn, elevate and disrupt.

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