Trust: The Missing Link Between Leaders and Their Direct Reports


(And Why It’s Time to Find It)

Last week, I was facilitating a development session with the primary goal to move a team from storming to norming. A situation many leaders face every day! An environment fraught with skepticism, raised eyebrows, whispers at the water cooler, assignments going haywire, and grumpy attitudes! As we dug in, the root cause rose up; an all-too-common situation where direct reports do not trust their fearless leaders.

As leaders, we want the exact opposite of what this group was demonstrating!

In this blog post, we’ll dig into the number one reason behind this trust deficit and offer three quirky yet effective steps to mend it. Trust me, you don’t want to miss out on the importance of trust in your team. Let’s dive into this trust-rebuilding adventure!

Transparent Communication, or the Art of Being a “Mysterious” Leader. The classic conundrum of leaders withholding information and leaving their direct reports feeling like they’re playing a game of Clue. The culprit? Lack of transparent communication. When leaders keep their cards too close to their chest, it leads to an atmosphere of confusion, suspicion, and awkward side-eye glances. Direct reports might start questioning their leader’s intentions, actions, and even their choice of a zoom virtual background. The result? Trust levels plummet faster than a lead balloon at a comedy show.

So, how do you fix and maintain trust with your team? Here are three easy steps to Trust-Building Success you can implement today:

1. Embrace Your Inner Chatterbox and Communicate with Transparency:

Yes, I’m talking about opening the floodgates of communication! Break free from the shackles of silence and let the words flow. Be transparent, share information, and let your direct reports know what’s happening in the land of decision-making. Provide context, share your thought process, and give those puzzled looks a much-needed vacation. The more you communicate openly, the fewer conspiracy theories your team will concoct during their coffee breaks. Knowledge is power and will spark energy in your team.

2. Strut Your Integrity Like a Fashionista at a Red Carpet Event:

Wear integrity proudly and make it the centerpiece of your leadership ensemble. Be consistent in your words and actions, so your direct reports don’t feel like they’re watching a game of “Guess Who?” in progress. When you say you’ll do something, follow through like a superhero sticking to their catchphrase. Keep their 1:1 meeting and come prepared (no reschedules!), just like you want your leader to do. And remember, integrity isn’t just about being honest—it’s about doing the right thing, even when no one’s watching (but we know they are).

3. Create a Safe Haven of Trust and Empowerment:

Forget about building a moat around your office—focus on constructing an emotional fortress of trust instead. Create an environment where your direct reports feel safe, heard, and valued. Encourage them to share ideas, make mistakes, and grow without the fear of public humiliation. Delegate responsibilities, empower them to take ownership, recognize them for their accomplishments and watch trust soar higher than a drone capturing epic team selfies.

Now, let’s talk about the perks of winning back the trust of your direct reports – it is your Golden Ticket to team success!

  • Trust breeds collaboration. When your team trusts you, they’ll embrace teamwork, share ideas, and support each other like the tightest-knit acrobatic troupe.
  • Trust is the secret sauce that spices up productivity. With trust in the air, your direct reports will be motivated, engaged, and ready to conquer the world (or at least their to-do lists).
  • Trust nurtures an environment of open communication, innovation and idea-sharing. When your team trusts you, they’ll feel comfortable contributing their wackiest, most out-of-the-box ideas. Get ready for an innovation extravaganza that’ll make your competitors green with envy.

Transparent communication, unwavering integrity, and a safe environment are your secret weapons. Embrace the superpower and witness your team transform!

Does this describe your team? Do you know that your team could be more effective? Are you frustrated because you have tried to get them all on board but it just isn’t working?

You know that if you can pull them together they will be more productive, collaborative and innovative. When you can get them there you will all be empowered!

For the past 20+ years, I have helped many leaders, just like you, lead their teams to success. Curious about how to take your team to the next level? Contact me for a free discovery call to see how my systematic approach can help you help your team.

#TransparentCommunication #TrustBuilding #Collaboration #TrustIssues #LeadershipDevelopment

Learn 6 Strategies to Build Powerful Workplace Relationships

Get 6 Strategies to Build Powerful Workplace Relationships

Learn my IMPACT Formula to communicate with confidence & clarity: created especially for women leaders navigating corporate teams.
Get 6 Strategies to Build Powerful Workplace Relationships
Learn my IMPACT Formula to communicate with confidence & clarity: created especially for women leaders navigating corporate teams.