Fostering leadership excellence: the crucial role of trust for gen z and millennials

Hi friends, it’s Jyme Williams, your mentor and certified life coach. Today, we are touching on a topic that wields the single greatest impact on leadership: trust. 

Whether you are looking to advance your career or are a CEO of a company, the health, vitality, and overall success of your career depends on your relationship with trust, both  personally and professionally.  

When it comes to trust, many of us assume that we are trustworthy. We believe that our work exemplifies good judgment and we consistently perform with integrity. 

However, the reality is that most employees harbor concerns about their employers, while management mistakenly assumes employees see them as consistent, competent, transparent, and reliable.

In fact, it has been reported that only 21% of employees trust their managers, according to 

One of the questions I often ask my clients who seek career and development coaching is how often they do a self imposed inventory on themselves.

This method of self-assessment serves as a valuable set of checks and balances, enabling the removal of preconceived notions that significantly hinder our leadership capabilities. Invariably, my clients find after peeling back all the layers, that the core issue is a breakdown in trust. – whether within themselves or their leadership team. 

Today, we will explore three key areas to help you build trust or regain the trust of your peers or colleagues: be consistent, listen, and offer compassion and empathy. 

Ready? Let’s get started. 

The bedrock of trust begins with consistency

1. Why consistency matters:

It has been said that consistency stands as the most pivotal factor in building trust both inside and outside your organization. 

According to Robert Hurley, “When your video and audio do not match, people do not know which message to pay attention to – which leads to confusion and ultimately distrust.”

The synergy between your words and actions is paramount for effective leadership. 

Missing deadlines, overpromising and under delivering, and routinely canceling on commitments can erode your team’s confidence at a pace comparable to a sinking ship.

In the evolving landscape of corporate values, where organizations are reshaping their messaging to embrace changing cultural norms, diversity, and equality, this consistency becomes even more crucial. 

Leadership must align with the values of both the organization and its employees to avoid risking damage to the company’s reputation and personal integrity.

2. Walk the walk:

Surprisingly, while senior management officers may believe they are walking the walk of cultural diversity, inclusion, and equality, only 46% of employees agree that these standards are being lived up to.

At its core, consistency is about leading with integrity—being counted on to deliver on what you say you are going to do. 

And if, for any reason, you find yourself unable to meet a commitment or deadline, transparency about the reasons becomes indispensable in maintaining trust.

Shedding the ego, embracing humility

1. Understanding the ego:

No one likes an egomaniac. We’ve all worked for one, been one, or read about one – and we all know how the story ends. Just take a look at Napoleon, Richard Nixon, Bernie Madoff, Hitler, to name a few. Their legacies and reputations crumbled faster than they were built. 

The ego, by its very nature, is self seeking – it avoids admitting fault, rejects feedback, and glorifies its own significance. 

Successful leadership cannot thrive in an environment where blame, lack of accountability, and self awareness are not present. When leaders are too busy puffing up their chests, micromanaging, and finger pointing, a toxic corporate culture emerges.  

2. Leveraging humility:

On the flip side, when leaders embrace humility and genuinely care about their employees, fostering community, transparency, authenticity, and competency, both employee retention and productivity soar. 

Statistics show that employees in high-trust companies are 50% more productive, 76% more engaged, 74% less stressed, and 40% less burned out.

The takeaway is simple: step aside from your ego. Create a healthy environment that allows employees to realize their potential.

As the renowned author and speaker Brian Tracy wisely advised, “become the kind of leader that people would follow voluntarily; even if you had no title or position.”

The power of being an active listener

1. Learn to listen:

Learning to listen is undeniably one of the most challenging yet essential steps to earn the trust of your employees.

Winston Churchill’s quote, “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen,” underscores the significance of this skill.

Effective leaders prioritize active listening, recognizing the value and rapport it cultivates within the organization. This practice not only provides insight and clarity from team members but also aids in making informed business decisions.

As a leader, stowing away your phone during meetings and encouraging your staff to do the same is crucial. This simple action fosters engagement, encourages eye contact, and facilitates the exchange of ideas, ensuring individuals feel seen and heard.

2. Negative impact of distractions:

Phones, by their nature, impact cognitive functioning, as the “brain drain” hypothesis from the University of Chicago suggests. Responding to texts or calls during meetings sends a message that your time and connections take precedence over your team, diminishing their sense of value.

Research from The Workforce Institute highlights this, with 86% of employees feeling unheard and 63% believing their voices are ignored by employers or managers.

3. Integrity matters:

To enhance active listening, consider tips from Heart Matters: pay attention to body language, avoid interruptions, refrain from hasty conclusions, nod to show attentiveness, and ask questions.

Consistent commitment to active listening transforms not only how we lead but also how we connect with those we guide.

It’s a powerful catalyst for building trust, fostering a culture of open communication, and nurturing an environment where everyone’s voice is not only heard but genuinely valued.

The bottom line, according to Jyme,

In the journey of leadership, the importance of being attuned to the insights, concerns, and perspectives of others cannot be overstated.

It’s in the deliberate commitment to consistency, the exercise of humility, and the art of active listening that we discover the keys to unlocking innovation, nurturing a shared sense of purpose, and constructing resilient teams adept at navigating the complex world of professional and organizational success. 

For more insights and tools to navigate life’s twists and turns, visit my website and check out my blog for weekly updates!

Stay curious, stay resilient, and keep moving forward!