One of the most profound things we have learned over the years from Dr. Stephen R. Covey is his insight: “If you want to make incremental improvements, work on your behavior; if you want to make quantum leaps in improvement, work on your paradigms.” We have proven this insight repeatedly through our own experience and the experience and reports of countless client executives and workers over many years. It is true that our paradigms, or world views, dramatically affect the way we behave. We submit that the corollary is also true – SHIFT your behavior and you will shift your paradigm.
What we actually do—our behavior—affects our thinking and our paradigms. Consider thinking about the benefits of exercise. We know that it is a beneficial health practice. If we study it hard enough and meditate about it, we may shift our paradigm and, in turn, may behave by exercising. Shifting our behavior and actually exercising affords direct benefits that conversely can shift our paradigm about exercise. What we call a behavior shift.
People trust us based predominantly upon our behavior. Behavior is the outward expression of our integrity and our intent. We tend to trust others by observing their behavior and trust ourselves based on our intent. Ultimately, it is our actions not our intent that is evident to others. We contend that trust is affected by both character (who we are) and competence (our strengths and results) and that our behavior and our results tend to color our reputation, credibility, and influence with others.
Consider this: Who do you trust? What separates great leaders from good ones? What makes a manager a manager of choice by their reports, peers, and boss? What makes an individual credible with customers, suppliers, distributors, investors, and other stakeholders? While there are many dimensions to these questions, there is one common thread throughout: being an individual who can be trusted.
Perhaps a more important question than, “Who do you trust?” is the far more personal question of, “Who trusts you?” There are some organizations who ask all their employees directly the following simple, key question in formal 360-degree feedback processes: “Do you trust your boss?” These companies have learned that the answer to this one question is more predictive of team and organizational success than perhaps any other question they might ask.
A high trust leader is an individual who has unquestionably strong personal credibility, has the ability to create and grow trust with others interpersonally, and is then able to extend that trust organizationally. High trust leaders are managers of choice who understand the impact trust always plays on two key outcomes—speed and cost—and how low or high trust either extracts a tax or produces a dividend on every activity and dimension within a relationship, team, or organization.
High trust leaders have learned how to interact with others in ways that increase trust levels while avoiding the pitfalls that deplete trust. While there are numerous actions and behaviors that affect trust, we have identified the 13 key behaviors common to high trust leaders throughout the world.
What’s most exciting is that these “13 Behaviors of High Trust Leaders” can be learned and applied by any influencer at any level in any organization. The net result will be a significantly increased ability to generate trust with all stakeholders in order to achieve better results. You will become more promotable and your company will become more profitable. According to Watson Wyatt research in 2002, “Organizations with high trust outperform organizations with low trust by nearly 3 times.”
To trust and to be trusted amplifies your leadership influence and causes a ripple effect that makes your world and, ultimately, the world at large a better place. CoveyLink emphasizes action and the energizing vitality and influence this ripple effect creates.