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Posted: March 18, 2024
Author: burlesandco

The Importance of Trust in Business Leadership

Trust is the glue that holds relationships, teams and organisations together. For business leaders, keeping that trust intact can make or break success. 

In the dynamic landscape of business, every company experiences its fair share of ups and downs, facing changes and disruptions along the way. When tough times hit, trust becomes even more crucial. 

Let’s explore why trust matters in business leadership and how leaders can build and maintain trust with their teams, clients, partners, and other stakeholders. 

Why does trust matter in business leadership?

Regardless of whether you’re running a startup, SME, or family business, building a solid rapport with your team is crucial. The relationship between leaders and employees hinges on trust, and maintaining a good connection helps businesses endure the highs and lows of the business world.

When facing challenges like economic slumps, personnel mix-ups, reputational setbacks, or internal conflicts, trust is what keeps the team united, eases the pressure, and keeps your business running smoothly 

Trust isn’t just about surviving the tough times—it’s about thriving through them. But its benefits go beyond that; here are some key advantages of trust in business leadership:

  • Trust fosters open communication and collaboration among team members. 
  • When employees trust their leaders, they’re more likely to be engaged, motivated, and loyal. 
  • When there’s mutual trust between you and your team, problems are resolved more quickly and efficiently.
  • Businesses with strong trust are better positioned to innovate, adapt to change, and thrive in today’s dynamic marketplace. 

How to build trust as a leader

Here are three ways business leaders can build a foundation of trust.

1. Don’t come in with substitute teacher energy.

Whether you’re starting a new leadership role or welcoming fresh faces to your established team, setting a positive tone is crucial. Demonstrate your leadership qualities from the outset by outlining your goals and vision for the future. Interact with your team as much as possible to dispel any initial mistrust, and put in the legwork to lay the groundwork for a supportive working relationship and environment. 

2. Embrace the tricky conversations.

While it’s easy to talk about light-hearted topics like what you’re all having for your dinner, where you want the next work event to be, or how your weekend was, being able to navigate difficult conversations in a respectful and effective manner is essential for building trust and excelling as a business leader. 

Tricky conversations are sometimes unavoidable to push your team and your business in the right direction. Likewise, your employees might have valuable feedback for you as a leader, which can feel like an awkward situation. However, a strong level of trust within a team enables open and honest communication, ultimately benefitting the entire business and facilitating collective growth. 

3. Talk to your team.

Following on from our last point, it’s worth emphasising that being open and honest is key to building trust. It’s easy to feel isolated in a leadership role, but talking to your team about what’s happening can prove remarkably valuable. You might be surprised how valuable of a sounding board your team can be.

This principle applies to various situations. When things aren’t going so well, being upfront can strengthen your team’s trust in you. It shows you’re human and often leads to some really creative solutions. And when things are going well, don’t forget to celebrate the small wins; recognising the hard work of individuals is a fantastic way to keep everyone motivated.

To explore more ways to build trust in your workplace and grow as a leader, get in touch with Burles and Co. We offer mentorship, coaching, and consultancy services designed to support your success.