A recent study by Korn Ferry shows the traits needed by leaders, and as it has been tracked over the years, the traits have changed accordingly. One stood out to me as a new addition for 2022; however, is it new? It’s that leaders need to ‘instill trust.’
Based on the pandemic and the physical and mental strains employees have been put through, instilling trust is a new critical competency for 2022.
I can’t help but think of our founder’s 30-year-old best seller, You’ve Got to Be Believed to Be Heard. I suppose he could have titled it ‘How to instill trust.’ Instilling trust has always been a critical trait, competency, and life skill of any leader. You’re not just born with it; you can hone it and make it part of your brand and overall communications.
In all the work we do at Decker, I’ve come to realize this is probably the #1 thing we focus on collectively. My current work includes assisting C-level keynotes, All Hands preparation, prepping leaders for TV, PR videos for large manufacturers, change management efforts, podcast prep, and Board of Directors meeting prep. All HAVE to instill trust in every touch point. So here are ways to move the needle in instilling trust:
I recently told a client I think that’s my #1 job – to ensure they bring humanity into that speech or meeting. Leaders get caught up in their jargon, their process, their thing. It’s easy to forget to drop the guard, relate, meet the audience where they are, and talk through. Easier to say than do; it starts with meeting the audience where they are. A great tip is being obsessive about your audience, which should help pull the human language out better.
Be More Self aware
My co-CEO (and wife) and I created the Communicator’s Roadmap a few years ago – and in every coaching opportunity, we show this as the foundation of any feedback we might give. What’s holding them back or helping from an emotional connection? (smile, voice, energy). What’s helping or hurting from a content perspective? (talking about their interest or relating it to the US as their audience). So many people are not aware of the experience they create – this is critical for instilling trust.
We reference Simon Sinek’s ‘Start with the Why’ quite often, as that is what helps show any audience that you care. You’ll find that they nod their heads, understand the context and feel cared for when you start with the why. It’s why in our Decker Grid methodology, we have to make sure it’s about the audience, for the audience, including benefits, why they’ll do it, and what they’ll get. If you make it about them and for them, it helps instill trust. I can’t help but also think of Danny Meyer’s best description of hospitality that I’ve heard: “Making them feel you’re on their side.” That’s what we have to do as communicators and leaders. If they don’t believe you, they won’t hear you. It’s not just about leaders; it’s anyone – we all need to instill trust in all of our communications. A few tweaks, and it’s attainable.
So thank you, Bert Decker, for your title and life lesson IN that title.