Earning Trust as a Leader
Trust is a key element to effective leadership. Members of a team must not only trust that the path you want to go down is the one that will lead to victory and success, but they must also trust that you will do the things necessary to get the team to the end destination.
Imagine a player or coach trying to lead a team when the team doesn’t take them or what they may be saying seriously. Without trust, you may think you are leading your team, but will soon realize that no one is actually following your lead.
Earning trust begins by developing your integrity, your authenticity, and your discipline.
Integrity is defined as “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles.” It is built by complete honesty. This means no white lies, no half-truths, and no exaggerations. This applies to your teammates or players as well as yourself.
For instance, if you don’t feel you put your full effort into a certain practice or game preparation, don’t try to convince yourself otherwise. Additionally, being 100% honest with your teammates or players doesn’t necessarily mean degrading or being overly critical towards them for their play.
You can be honest without being condescending or mean.
Recognize when it is your place to give criticism and when your teammates or players may need encouragement instead.
Are there instances in your life where you have gotten into the habit of not being completely honest? While you may see it as harmless or even for the other person’s good, others will only see it as another opportunity where you where you let them down with dishonesty.
Do the right thing and be honest always.
You can develop authenticity simply by being yourself. Other people will be able to tell if you are playing a part or acting how you imagine leaders act. This will make them question whether or not you are trying to be a leader to help the team or for some other personal gain.
Effective leaders come on all shapes, sizes, skill levels, and Athlete Types.
You don’t have to change who you are to be a leader.
Rather, be authentic and make effective leadership fit into your personality, don’t change your personality because you feel you need to fit into an effective leadership style.
What you want your identity to be should guide your actions. This means that you first and foremost need to start seeing yourself as a leader. Next, you must start to behave in a way that is consistent with leadership (doing the right thing, staying out of trouble, etc).
These may be difficult at first, especially if you have never seen yourself as a leader before or thought to act as a leader.
This is where discipline comes into play. Discipline becomes important on the days where leading seems more of an annoyance than something that could benefit the team. During these times, it is tempting to let someone else do the work of a leader and slip back into the more comfortable role of a follower.
You may feel like sitting back and going through the motions during a tough practice or when things start to get difficult in a game or competition, but this is precisely the moment that effective leadership is needed the most.
It will take discipline to think of yourself as a leader daily.
It will take discipline to be consistent in your leadership actions daily. And it will take discipline to guide your team in the right direction when things aren’t going smoothly and someone needs to step up and make a play.
Earning trust is essential to effective leadership. If you don’t believe that you can lead the team towards success, no one else will either. Earn the trust of your teammates or players by increasing integrity, authenticity, and discipline and get your team on track towards achieving more success than ever before.