Understand the basics of trust for leadership success
We know that individuals with strong trusting relationships live longer, healthier lives, and have a greater sense of fulfillment and peace. Professional environments with high levels of trust have greater employee satisfaction, lower rates of turnover, and in the clinical setting, demonstrate better clinical outcomes and higher levels of teamwork.
In the trust transformation, we focus on the importance of taking time and identifying strategies to help us start with ourselves and do everything possible to become a trustworthy individual. This is not an act of selfishness. If you are to live up to your maximum potential, caring for your physical and mental well-being is essential. Give yourself permission to reflect and grow.
As a place to begin this reflection, look at the relationships in your life. We were made for relationships; they are essential to our lives. Relationships contribute to our physical and emotional well-being, and they contribute to an organizational culture of professionalism.
How often do you stop to reflect on whether the relationships in your life are filled with trust or where trust may be lacking? Think of someone in your life that is particularly close to you, that you trust. Why do you trust that person? Are they reliable, authentic, honest, respectful? Now consider someone who you distrust. What are the qualities they lack that inform that opinion? Once you look at relationships through the lens of trust, whether it is present or absent, it is difficult to undo.
There are four attributes of trust: trustworthiness, authenticity, dependability, and influence. Each of these attributes is aligned with a guiding principle. We must build trust from the inside out, take responsibility for our relationships, communicate consistently and keep our promises, and be good stewards of our trust. It moves from “me” where you first work on trusting yourself, then to “we” where you cultivate a strong relationship with another person, and finally to “us” that involves building relationships and extending trust and influencing a group.
There are several characteristics of trustworthiness that are foundational to growing as an individual. Of these, the two most important are integrity and attitude.
Without integrity, there can never be trust. This implies a firm adherence to a set of moral standards, and always doing the right and honest thing. Attitude is paramount to communicating a message effectively, and as leaders to our ability to successfully lead. Psychologist Carol Dweck has observed that your attitude is a greater predictor of success than your IQ. Being cognizant of our attitude and behaving with integrity are essential first steps in achieving transformational trust.
Once we are trustworthy, we can then focus on fostering authentic relationships. The ultimate goal of authenticity, where we can be our most sincere selves, is transparency. To achieve this we must be present, use active listening, demonstrate candor and respect, be willing to forgive and have a clear purpose. Every day we are faced with opportunities to either strengthen or weaken our one on one relationships. Being intentional about focusing on these elements of authenticity will build and solidify these relationships.
MD, MHA, FACEP
Dr. Mansfield is an emergency medicine physician. She is the Chief Medical Officer at AdventHealth Apopka and AdventHealth Winter Garden. She is the immediate past Chief of Staff of AdventHealth Celebration and is a proud graduate of the AdventHealth Physician Leadership and REACH Leadership courses.