Monday, September 29, 2014

Trustworthy Leaders

What do trustworthy leaders do? How do they build trust?  Stanford's Roderick Kramer has been studying this topic for many years.  Here are a few of his key findings, described in more depth in this article from the Stanford Business School research website:

1. They project confidence, competence, and benevolence.  In other words, they have the experience and the capabilities required to do the job.  Moreover, they are trying to do what's best for the firm as a whole rather than pursuing their own self-interest at the expense of others.

2.  They define roles and responsibilities clearly.   Kramer says, "“When people know what they’re supposed to do, and they know what other people are supposed to do, then they trust that system of roles to work.”

3.  They share the credit and take the blame.   Taking responsibility proves to be very important.  Trustworthy leaders do not throw others under the bus.  They also talk in terms of "we" when discussing major accomplishments, rather than "I did this" or "I achieved that."

4.  They tell it straight, particularly when a crisis occurs. They do not try to cover things up.  Instead, they acknowledge mistakes, and they commit to preventing problems from happening again.  

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