Care, Help, and Trust
David Freund, Chief Leadership Officer

I have been preoccupied lately with a challenging situation within a company I consult with. It seems like people just aren’t getting with the program. Metrics aren’t met, turnover is high, and sales have been flat for years. What’s missing? Other companies are thriving, and yet, this organization is really stuck. What is holding them back? Certainly, there isn’t just one thing or one magic pill that will turn things around, but we can diagnose some key problems with a little bit of work.

I once heard that there are three things everyone needs to know before they decide to follow a leader. Do they care for me, can they help me, and can I trust them? If the answer to even one of those questions is no, the person will never follow that leader. The sad thing is, not everyone that answers no to one of those questions leaves. Much of the time, they stay and spend their time doing just enough to stay employed.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these questions.

Do they care for me? Great leaders know that the key to gaining support from a team member is to take an interest in them as a person. Who are they? What are their hopes, dreams, and beliefs? Since motivation is an inside job, we need to discover the team member’s “why” and then connect it with the company’s why. The team member then works extra hard because they can connect their hopes, dreams, and beliefs to those of the company.

Can they help me? When a leader knows her team, she works to support each of them on their growth journey. She models the behaviors she is looking for by continually growing and learning herself. She realizes the truth that you can’t give what you don’t have. If she wants to be able to mentor them, she has a mentor or coach for herself as well.

Can I trust them? This last question is so critical. Law number six in The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership is the Law of Solid Ground. If you aren’t leading on solid ground, you can’t build trust. Before you dismiss this question and say, “I got this,” remember, it’s not what you think that matters. It’s what your team thinks. I can count more times than I would like to admit when I wasn’t leading on solid ground. So how do you build trust? By consistently being trustworthy. By exemplifying competence, connection, and character. By being approachable and welcoming to your team members. By extending trust to them, and mining for the gold of good intentions.

These three questions will be the key to the challenging situation I mentioned earlier. There aren’t any easy solutions, and it will take time. Once your team members answer yes to all three of these questions, your organization will thrive.

If you would like to hear more about building solid ground with your team, please join Marisa Norcross and me for episode 259 or The Next Page podcast as we talk through simple tools you can start working on today.

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