A few weeks ago I wrote about the importance of leaders building trust with their teams in my blog post Trust begets trust. This past week I came across an article by Jesse Lyn Stone that highlights another important aspect of building trusting relationships in your team: self-disclosure.
Self-disclosure here doesn't mean baring your soul (or any other part of your anatomy) to everyone around you. Instead it involves being honest and open with your direct reports, peers and other key stakeholders. We can all think of examples of leaders who we don't trust because we don't view them as being open and transparent – there is no real connection. A good example that I often think of is our political leaders – in my view they seek to avoid responsibility and are constantly speaking in ways that de-humanise them and hide their true feelings. These behaviours reduce my faith and trust in them.
Leaders in business can be susceptible to the same negative behaviours. For a team to work to the best of its ability it needs to have mutual respect and trust in each other. And as leaders we expect our team to be open and honest with us. Shouldn’t this work both ways?
We, as the leaders of our teams, need to earn this trust and respect by connecting with our team members through behaviours that demonstrate this openness and transparency.
Taking ownership of our own behaviours, thoughts and decisions will also make us better leaders. It allows those around us to better understand what motivates us, how we think and why we make particular decisions. It links our behaviours as leaders to our vision and values and demonstrates leadership to all involved. Failing to take ownership can leave people wondering, if you aren't responsible for anything, why are you even leading the team?
Don't be afraid to own your feelings, behaviours and decisions, and let your team get to know who you really are. If people believe in you they will believe in your vision, and you'll be in much better position to lead them to success.