The One Word That Honest Leaders Never Say
May 27, 2015

The One Word That Honest Leaders Never Say

by Brian de Haaff

Did you work for a boss who said “Trust me!” and then went on to hurt you? When this happens, it is not only a sucker punch to the gut. It has lasting implications.

Not only do you have to rearrange how you think and feel about the person, but you feel like a jerk for trusting him in the first place. It makes you question yourself, making you wonder if you are a poor judge of character. Every time someone betrays your trust, you become a bit less trusting the next time around.

The thing about trust is that if you have to convince someone to trust you, you are probably not all that trustworthy to begin with. Trust must be earned.

So, do you know the one word that honest leaders never say? They never mutter the word “trust.”

Honest leaders that I know never talk about trust. They do not have to. They have already earned the right to that trust, and they show it through their actions.

If you have not been known as a trustworthy leader, it is never too late to start changing that perception. It will take time and effort on your part, and you must hold up your end of the deal. Here are a few characteristics that are worth emulating:

Transparency A leader who has earned the trust of others speaks clearly and accurately. They mean what they say and they say what they mean. When your employees observe that you have nothing to hide, they will be more apt to put faith in you.

Selflessness Start thinking of others first. When you demonstrate a willingness to put yourself on the line for your staff members, you lay the groundwork for trusting relationships. Your actions will show your true motivation. Your employees will realize that they can trust you to follow through and do the right thing.

Credit There may be times when you deserve all the credit. However, you will demonstrate leadership when you let others shine more often than not. People want to know that you will not always hog the spotlight for yourself. When you start giving credit to others, you show that you value others.

Building trust does not happen overnight. It takes time and attention.

Honest leaders do not take that responsibility lightly. They know that trust can be destroyed in an instant, and is difficult to reestablish.

Once you have earned the trust of your employees, do not take it for granted. Continue to build on it and guard it by making sure your actions always line up with your words. You will create a healthier work environment, and your employees will love you for it.

Have you ever known a boss who said “Trust me?”

Brian de Haaff

Brian de Haaff

Brian seeks business and wilderness adventure. He is the co-founder and CEO of Aha! — the world’s #1 product development software — and the author of the bestseller Lovability and The Startup Adventure newsletter. Brian writes and speaks about product and company growth and the journey of pursuing a meaningful life.

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