Trust. It’s important to life, because it’s important to relationships and leadership.
How do we build trust?
There are a lot of ways to building trust. Most of those tie back to leveraging the power of storytelling to build trust as a leader, communicator or team member.
Trust drives how we reach, connect, engage and influence others. Trust is vital to leaders.
Leaders need to gain and earn trust and continually value the trust of their team members. Leaders also need to be able to gain the trust of other constituencies: strategic partners, customers, government leaders, the whole gamut.
Francis Free and Anna Morris are two researchers, writers and experts on trust. They’ve done TED Talks, written books, wrote for journals, taught about this, and they compare and contrast the old style of leader, where the traditional leader had charisma and decisiveness and exuded power.
They’ve talked about how there’s a shift, and what we as leaders need to do today.
They discuss leadership and trust being built from authenticity, logic and empathy.
Authenticity is about being the real you, and telling your story again and again, so people understand who you are.
It’s more than just that standard story for your business and your company and what you do. It’s the whole you, which is complex.
Each of us are complex individuals and human beings.
That complexity ties to our personal life, and has all kinds of different parts to it.
And our business life has all types of different parts to it, but being authentic is telling that story and showing the real you in multiple channels, mediums and ways.
I was on a strategy call with some executives, and it was about maximizing LinkedIn.
There was some talk and people were a little nervous and said, “Do people care about this part of me?” And my answer was, “Absolutely. That’s what really matters to us.”
Why are all these human interest stories done about government leaders, business leaders, athletes and celebrities?.
For the history of time, the human interest story has been a driver of content. And it’s because we want to feel like we know that person and can relate to that person. So yes, your story has to include your interest, what drives you, what you’re passionate about, and what you do at your workplace, and how you help your team.
I am a leader at MASSolutions, but I’m also a storyteller that produces a lot of content.
I also work on strategic marketing solutions for our clients.
I’m also a dad, a son, a brother, a coach.
I’ve coached sports throughout my life. I was a former DJ, so I’m passionate about music.
I love stories so much, so pop culture is big for me. All of those are the facets of me.
I incorporate that when I’m doing my podcast or doing video workshops. All of those different titles that I named, the vast majority of people out there share many of those titles. So, that’s about authenticity and storytelling can drive authenticity.
Free and Morris next point to logic. So how do you gain trust through logic via leveraging the power of storytelling? By explaining your rationale.
Far too many leaders don’t maximize this. They simply don’t go into detail explaining what the rationale is for a core value, for a strategic plan, for a change in leadership, for the organizational structure or accountability chart.
Leaders need to tell that rationale to multiple target audiences through many channels, again and again.
It might mean in person, on Zoom, recorded video clips, a blog post, on LinkedIn, a podcast or through direct mail.
The third point brought up by Free and Morris is empathy – when people know that we care and feel for them.
We have a shared feeling for them. If you don’t think storytelling helps convey empathy, you’re missing on this one.
When you’re telling stories to your team, you’re making points in that story that show your authenticity.
But you’re also showing and conveying empathy when you do stories, anecdotes and analogies to make a point.
You’re conveying that empathy is going to build trust.
The leaders of today and tomorrow don’t rely as heavily on the command and control that was prominent from the 1960s through the early 1990s.
There’s no longer the worry so much about the big, powerful, charismatic leader. It’s more about the inclusive leader and that leader needs to build trust.