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Use leadership contract to gain trust

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in Leaders & Managers,People Management

When Vince Molinaro begins advising an organization, he studies its latest employee survey. He immediately checks the level of trust and respect that em­­ployees have toward higher-ups.

Molinaro, a leadership consultant, finds that disengaged employees often don’t trust their leaders. A workforce that’s browbeaten or demoralized by bullying executives tends to shut down.

To raise the trust level within an organization, follow these steps:

  Draft a leadership contract. In a written document, list what you expect from your employees in terms of attitudes and behaviors. Describe in clear terms the type of commitment they must make to excel, from listening with an open mind to collaborating freely.

  Track performance. For those employees who step up and honor the contract, support their professional development. Help them grow by giving them increasing responsibility and exposure to challenges.

For those individuals who do not meet your stated expectations, alert them of the need to improve. If they do not, weed them out.

  Cultivate team relationships. Create opportunities for top employees to build trust and rapport. Set up formal and informal gatherings where peers can build community, share experiences and support each other’s success.

As trust spreads across the organization, you’ll see a decline in divisive internal politics. Better yet, employees will adopt a “one company” mentality. They will bask in collective accomplishments, put ego aside and participate enthusiastically in cross-departmental teams.

— Adapted from The Leadership Contract, Vince Molinaro, John Wiley & Sons.

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