Connect, Lead, Equip: How to Build Trust as a Leader in Community & Ministry
Every job, role, or project hinges on trust. Whether it’s in the context of pastoring a church, leading a company, directing a conference, managing a community outreach project, or anything similar, if the leader of a team can’t establish buy-in and trust, then the objective simply will not be met. James Kouzes and Barry Posner, in their classic book, The Leadership Challenge, reported that credibility is the foundation of leadership. Constituents must be able, above all else, to believe in their leaders. Below are five trust building essentials.
5 Essentials to Build Trust as a Leader
1. Participation –
Be open to others’ ideas, concerns, and opinions. Be receptive to the input of those you lead and listen (truly listen) to what they say, even your critics. Facilitate an exchange of perspectives as you seek to gain buy-in for new ideas.
2. Communication –
Carefully and clearly communicate what you are doing and why. When introducing change, increase the communication and take time to explain the data and reasoning behind the change. Often a negative reaction is not due to the change itself. Rather the reaction correlates to the surprise as well as not having time to process the reasons and benefits of the new direction.
Be intentional in your communication. Don’t wing it, but plan what you will say as well as when and how you will say it. Practice the conversation or presentation out loud so you can become comfortable hearing yourself say the words.
3. Inspiration –
Express your personal passion for the shared vision. It’s contagious! Show how each person’s efforts will contribute to success. Be the cheerleader, the encourager, and recognize the contributions of others. Be solution oriented rather than problem focused.
4. Acknowledgement –
Failure happens. Not every idea or initiative becomes a success. When you haven’t met expectations or when you’ve underperformed, be transparent. Admit the lack of intended, positive outcomes and outline the path to improved performance.
5. Alignment –
Be sure your language and actions align with your thinking and feelings. This assumes you think and feel positively about what lies ahead, about those you lead, and about your combined ability to meet the inevitable challenges that will arise.
Our underlying attitudes and beliefs drive our behavior. Therefore, building trust begins with an examination of our mind-set. Trust doesn’t come with a position, can’t be demanded, and isn’t guaranteed forever. We must consistently add credits to the “trust account” with those we lead.
Establishing trust is the first step to team success and accomplishing goals. Will you begin practicing the essentials today?