I was trying to think of a leader that I respected and didn't trust. No one came to mind. The two qualities go together like bread and butter, car and driver, or politicians and rhetoric. Perhaps they can exist independently but they are better together.
When we talk of trust we make the choice of being vulnerable based on our positive expectations. Respect is a deep admiration for them based on their abilities, qualities or achievements.
Can a good leader be respected if there is no trust?
I’m not someone who automatically respects or trusts someone because of their title or position and I expect that many feel the same way. I may respect the person for the hard work that they put into achieving their position, but I won’t necessarily trust them.
Thinking of those people I do trust and respect, I see they act on these six principles:
1. Give to Get
"What you do speaks so loudly I cannot hear what you say." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson ~
Both trust and respect are earned. Being both trustworthy and respectful of others is the fastest way to earn it. Treat people with dignity regardless of their position.
Do what you say you will do. Leadership is complicated and sometimes what we agree to do changes and, even with our best intentions, we can’t deliver what we promised. So, ALWAYS circle back and explain why and ask to be released from your original promise.
Being a great communicator means listening with your mind as well as your heart. What is being communicated by what isn’t being said? Listen to people and consider what they have to say with an open mind. Great communicators address both the why and the how of the situation. Trust your gut and learn to ask great questions. A great book to help you is “Quiet Leadership” by David Rock.
Respect is born through the competence you show, one of the 5 pillars of trust. (The 5 pillars are Caring, Commitment, Consistency, Competence and Communication.) Have the confidence born of knowledge and experience. When you speak, know what you are talking about. Remember: confidence is not arrogance. A confident leader is willing to admit their mistakes - hiding them is a sign of duplicity, a trust breaker.
5. Make People Safe
A respected leader I spoke to told me that you may not want to have everyone sitting at your dinner table, but you can learn a lot from people if you realize that everyone has something to teach you. Show the person that you “see” them. Many leaders intimidate because of their power and title. The really successful leaders make others feel that it is safe to speak up and know their opinions will be heard.
6. Go First
Do you want trust and respect from others? Start by trusting and respecting yourself. It means not putting yourself down when you make a mistake, but rather own up to it and move on. The best leaders know themselves and their values. They use them to guide their decisions.
7. Follow the Golden Rule
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Trust and respect are best when they operate together. What are you doing to build on both?