Urgent: The 13 Behaviors of High Trust Leaders

Urgent: The “13 Behaviors of High Trust Leaders” from the book “The Speed of Trust: One Thing That Changes Everything” by Stephen M.R. Covey provide practical, effective, and powerful steps to level up leaders and build trust in their roles. Learn about these 13 behaviors.  Next,  reflect upon what behaviors you demonstrate and which you can strengthen and prioritize to create a culture of trust and psychological safety. Finally, watch an animated video.

1. Talk Straight:

  • Emphasize the importance of honesty and integrity in communication. 
  • Be straightforward, tell the truth, and use simple language to avoid manipulation or distortion of facts, ensuring you don’t leave false impressions.

2. Demonstrate Respect

  • Emphasize the importance of genuine care and respect for others. 
  • Show you care, and respect the dignity of every individual and their role
  • Treat everyone with kindness, especially those who may not directly benefit them. 
  • Avoid fake caring and prioritize authentic connections with people rather than focusing solely on efficiency. 

3. Create Transparency 

  • Be truthful and transparent
  • Communicate so people can verify your intent and stay genuine and open. 
  • Prioritize disclosure and transparency, even when complete transparency is impossible (law or ethics preclude it). 
  • Operate with integrity, being upfront about your intentions and avoiding hidden agendas or withholding information. 
  • Embrace openness and honesty

4. Right Wrongs

  • High-trust leaders demonstrate humility by acknowledging and taking responsibility for their mistakes. 
  • Don’t cover things up or let pride get in the way of doing the right thing. 
  • Make things right when wrong, apologize quickly, and, where possible, make restitution. 

5. Show Loyalty

  • Show loyalty to your team members by supporting and defending them
  • Acknowledge your contributions, and stand by them during challenging times. 
  • Give credit to others, speak positively about people as if they were present, and represent them when they’re not there to speak for themselves. 
  • Avoid bad-mouthing others behind their backs 
  • Always check their intent when talking about others. 
  • Never disclose others’ private information

6. Deliver Results

  • Deliver results by setting clear goals and objectives
  • Make and keep commitments and establish a track record of achievements
  • Focus on getting things done, making things happen, and accomplishing their responsibilities effectively
  • Prioritize being on time and within budget, avoiding over-compromising and under-delivering
  • Don’t make excuses for not delivering things.

7. Get Better

  • Prioritize Growth Mindset and continuous improvement, both for yourself and your team
  • Seek opportunities for growth and learning, consistently increasing their capabilities
  • Be a constant learner and invite feedback 
  • Develop formal and informal feedback systems to enhance performance
  • Act on your feedback and express gratitude to those who provide it. 
  • Recognize that tomorrow’s challenges may require new knowledge and skills; never assume that their current abilities will be sufficient, embracing a mindset of constant development and improvement.

8. Confront Reality

  • Confront reality by addressing difficult issues and engaging in candid conversations when necessary.
  • Tackle challenges head-on, address complex topics, and acknowledge the unsaid. 
  • Proactively prevent potential conflicts by confronting issues before they escalate into major problems
  • Focus on confronting the reality, not attacking the person, ensuring a constructive and supportive approach
  • Lead conversations and avoid avoiding or neglecting real issues, taking a proactive stance to find solutions

9. Clarify Expectations

  • Clarify expectations by openly disclosing and revealing them
  • Engage in discussions to identify and, if necessary and possible, renegotiate expectations to ensure alignment
  • Prioritize honoring commitments and avoiding violations of expectations
  • Understand the importance of not assuming that expectations are clear or shared, actively seeking clarity to avoid misunderstandings
  • Foster a shared understanding among team members

10. Practice Accountability

  • Hold self and others responsible for their actions and performance
  • Prioritize self-accountability and set an example for others to follow
  • Take ownership of both positive and negative outcomes and communicate progress and that of their team clearly and transparently
  • Avoid avoiding or shirking responsibility and refrain from blaming others or pointing fingers when things go wrong
  • Focus on learning from mistakes and finding solutions to challenges

11. Listen First

  • Practice active listening, prioritizing understanding and empathy
  • Listen first before speaking, and take the time to comprehend others’ ideas and concerns truly
  • Use your ears, eyes, and heart to listen deeply and diagnose the root of the issues
  • Seek to understand the most important behaviors and needs of the people they work with, avoiding assumptions and presumptions
  • Demonstrate a genuine interest in others’ perspectives and refrain from assuming they have all the answers or asking all the questions

12. Keep Commitments

  • Keep commitments and promises
  • Establish yourself as reliable and trustworthy 
  • Ensure that your words match your actions, saying what you will do and then following through on those commitments
  • Approach making explicit and implicit commitments with the utmost care, understanding the significance of keeping them
  • If you cannot fulfill a commitment, then communicate openly and honestly about the situation

13. Extent Trust

  • Demonstrate a genuine willingness to trust others
  • Take responsibility and contribute to the team’s success
  • Show a propensity to trust, extending trust abundantly to those who have earned it and conditionally to those in the process of earning it
  • Understand the importance of appropriately extending trust based on the specific situation, risk factors, and individuals’ credibility

Recommended Reading:  The Speed of Trust

"You can't talk yourself out of a problem you've behaved yourself into. No, but you can behave yourself out of a problem you've behaved yourself into....and often faster than you think!"

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