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How Leaders Can Build Trust According to Research

In 2018, research by Kimberly Nei and Darin Nei found certain characteristics traits had a stronger correlation with unethical leadership behavior.

Based upon their findings, they then collated 4 tips for how leaders can build trust within their organisations. Here they are:

1. Be Humble; Not Charismatic.

Charisma for a long time has been idealized as a perfect leadership trait. Of course, we are more likely to be attracted to people who we perceive to be inspiring, fun and engage.

This is great for engaging and inspiring others towards an organizational goal. However, too much charisma can also backfire. It can lead to a reputation of self-absorption and self-promotion.

When team members get the sense that leaders are more focused on their own concerns and ideas, they feel unsupported. Thus, it’s more important to be humble than charismatic.

2. Balance Analysis With Action.

Too much time on analysis can hold leaders back from making the right moves at the right time for their team and organisation.

Of course, data and logic can indicate the best course of action for the bottom line. Although, what’s right for the bottom line doesn’t always coincide with what’s right for the broader team and relevant stakeholders.

Jeff Bezos believes that the best leaders know when to spend their time making a decision themselves and when it’s best to hand it on to someone else.

3. Don’t Try to Be the “Fun Boss.”

At times, we may enjoy working in an environment that’s a little less formal or working with a boss who doesn’t take everything too seriously.

However, there is also a degree of responsibility and professionalism that needs to be upheld by those in charge. When leaders err too much on the side of being known as “the fun boss,” it becomes difficult to draw the line.

Rather than benefiting the organisation, it often ends up hurting the organisation as employees become too relaxed and complacent in their role.

4. Be Steady and Dependable.

Leaders have a tremendous amount of autonomy and decision-making power. Thus, they need to be depended upon.

Staying true to their word and doing what’s right for the organization will go a long way towards building trust.