“ How will I trust again?”

This is the question I asked myself when my business was an utter disaster. I had just fired two people and within a year, 6 people quit me and my company! I had a company that was held together with very little trust. I felt like a failure and I remember asking myself, “What now? How do I regain trust in my employees and theirs in me?”

How did I allow this happen? I always had the intention of doing what was best for my team. At this time, I realized it was what I was not doing that was the issue.

When people were doing things that were not okay with me, I turned the other cheek. I did that because I didn’t know how to handle tough conversations or let my team know what the boundaries were; I was an insecure leader who was making decisions based on fear rather than fact. That is an extremely hard place from which to be making decisions.

The answer, I discovered, is authentic communication and alignment with my beliefs and values. I value self-improvement, trust, and communication; I would say they are my three highest values. It creates friction if everyone in my inner circle is not aligned with those values.

Knowing this as a leader and identifying it is key.

I wasn’t accepting feedback from my team; I wasn’t really listening to what they had to say. I was waiting to talk. First, I tried to listen in my office and then discovered that this wasn’t a safe enough place. I was not able to truly listen to my team with phones ringing and people knocking at the door.

To truly create a safe environment, I needed to give them my undivided attention. I mean, the kind of listening where only what they say matters. I needed to create an environment that allowed the team to share their authentic self. I found a place without that would provide my team with all of me.

I discovered one way to earn trust is listening to their topics and agendas before my own. What challenges are they having, either personal or work-related? Another way I realized how to build trust is standing in my power, sticking to my values and beliefs, and having those uncomfortable conversations, understanding that as a leader, I am responsible for the results that I am creating in our culture.

John Maxwell says:

“Trust is like change in a leaders pocket. Each time you make good decisions as a leader you earn more change. Each time you make poor decisions you pay out some of your change to the people.”

We all have a certain amount of change in our pockets when we start this leadership journey. What are you doing in your business to earn more change?

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