how to get a leader to trust you

To gain a leader's trust, it's essential to understand that trust is assessed on two key dimensions: intentions and judgment. Here's how you can approach each dimension:

Demonstrate Trustworthy Intentions

Leaders, like anyone else, are keen to understand what your intentions are toward them and the organization. To show trustworthy intentions:

  • Prioritize Warmth: Begin by establishing warmth to connect with the leader. Small nonverbal signals such as nods, smiles, and open gestures can demonstrate that you're attentive to their concerns and happy to be in their company. [2]
  • Show Genuine Concern: Express genuine concern for the leader's challenges and the organization's goals. This can be through empathetic listening and understanding the pressures they face. [4]
  • Align Your Actions: Make sure your actions reflect your intentions. If you claim to prioritize the team's success, your contributions and work ethic should align with that claim. [1]

Demonstrate Trustworthy Judgment

Leaders also need to trust that you are capable of acting on your intentions effectively:

  • Clarify Your Competence: Establish your competence by demonstrating your ability to make sound decisions and handle responsibilities effectively. This might mean sharing past successes or showing a clear understanding of your role within the organization. [1]
  • Be Transparent: Be open about what you know and what you don't know. Acknowledge when you lack certain information and show a willingness to learn and adapt. [3]
  • Consistently Deliver: Build a track record of reliability by meeting deadlines, keeping promises, and maintaining high-quality work. [4]

Additional Strategies

  • Emotion Regulation: Manage your emotions effectively, especially when dealing with bad news or stressful situations. This shows maturity and the ability to stay composed under pressure. [5]
  • Offer Solutions, Not Just Problems: When presenting challenges to a leader, come with potential solutions or a thoughtful analysis, not just the issues. This demonstrates both initiative and critical thinking. [5]
  • Seek Feedback and Act on It: Show that you're open to learning and improving by seeking feedback from the leader and making visible efforts to incorporate their guidance. [1]

Build the Relationship Over Time

Trust is built over time through consistent and reliable interactions. Make sure to:

  • Communicate Effectively: Keep the lines of communication open. Regular updates and check-ins can help build rapport and show that you're engaged and committed. [1]
  • Understand Their Perspective: Empathize with the leader's position and the demands on their time and attention. This understanding can help you provide support in ways that are genuinely helpful to them. [3]
  • Be Patient: Recognize that trust isn't established overnight. It's the result of ongoing interactions where you prove your intentions and judgment are reliable. [1]

By focusing on these areas and consistently demonstrating both good intentions and sound judgment, you can increase the likelihood that a leader will come to trust you. Remember, every interaction is an opportunity to reinforce or undermine trust, so approach each situation thoughtfully and with the leader's perspective in mind.