The heartful leader – part 3

The heartful leader – part 3
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Extraordinary outcomes through inspiration

TRUST IS EVERYTHING


In previous articles, RAVI VENKATESAN introduced the Heartful Leader framework and took a deeper look at Reputation, and ways to manage it. Now he looks at Trust more closely.



Building trust is an essential part of Heartful leadership. Many times, people mix being trustworthy with other things. For example, being liked, being popular, being smart, being humorous etc. It is entirely possible to like someone, enjoy conversations with them, but not trust them at all. It is also possible, though less common, to trust someone but not like them at all.

Trust, like Reputation, takes a lot to build and very little to lose. Once lost, it is also extremely difficult to rebuild. There are four key factors that create trust. If these are managed well, they go a long way in creating, maintaining and enhancing trust.



1. AUTHENTICITY

Many times leaders exaggerate or embellish what they are, or what they can do, or their backgrounds. Sometimes this is done without much thought or any kind of malicious intent. However, as soon as their subsequent actions don’t support how they initially came across, others lose trust in them, and then they struggle to get anything done. Authenticity also requires courage, because sometimes it means expressing what may not be palatable. Think about people with whom you interact. Is there someone you would describe as a ‘straight shooter’, or ‘what you see is what you get’? These are some of the ways in which we recognize authenticity.

Tips to be authentic:

Many times, leaders feel vulnerable in exposing themselves transparently, because they feel like they have to sugar coat or hide bad news. Try to take that leap and share some bad news transparently, you will find that people who receive it, actually react better than you expect, and appreciate your authenticity.

Leaders often hesitate to admit their mistakes. Try to deliberately find a couple of opportunities at work or with the family to admit a mistake and share how you will fix it or prevent it in the future. You will be surprised that the reaction is not as negative as you expect, and you will find this extremely liberating.

2. INTEGRITY

Integrity simply put is ‘always doing the right thing, no matter what the cost’. If there is one thing where flexibility is bad, it is in the area of integrity. We unfortunately see many examples of seemingly successful leaders who do not have integrity and consider it okay. The reality is that any leader who may achieve results and seem to succeed without integrity, sooner or later loses that success. Even if we don’t lose it in a material sense, this thing within us called the conscience ends up inflicting punishment that no external agency can.

Tips for developing integrity:

The best tip for integrity is to stand tall and never compromise on ethics and morals.

Daaji, the Heartfulness Guide, suggests that we may think occasionally that everyone is developing correct thinking, right understanding and an honest approach to life. I find that having this thought helps tremendously. After all, when we wish something good for others, we automatically feel inclined to apply it for ourselves.



3. CAPABILITY

No matter how much integrity you have and how authentic you are, if you simply don’t have the capability for whatever role you are performing, you will be unable to earn trust. This applies as much to an accountant, as to a school teacher, as to a CEO, or a lawyer.

Tip for developing capability:

There are times when you are thrust into a role where you do not yet have the capability. In such cases, being transparent about it (authenticity) and building the capability quickly is a great way to earn trust over time.

4. RELATABILITY

There is a natural tendency for human beings to trust their own kind. Unfortunately, many times this takes the form of bias and prejudice. Being perceived as ‘one of us’, however, significantly enhances trust.

Tips to enhance relatability:

We cannot change who we are in terms of our race, color, educational background etc., but we can find what we have in common with our circle of interaction and place emphasis on this. Highlighting what we share versus what is different about us is a great way to be relatable.

Use language that creates the feeling of being one team or one family. Words are powerful in what they convey directly, but also what they convey subliminally. When you use words like ‘we’ and ‘us’ versus ‘you’ and ‘me’, you create more relatability and hence trust.

As an exercise, create a list of people you feel are supporters, neutrals and detractors at your workplace or even in your extended family. Against each name, rate on a scale of 1 (low) to 5 (high), how much you think each person trusts you. Do you see a correlation between trust and their support of you? Prioritize 2 or 3 individuals who you think have the most impact on your success. Write down what you can do to bring them from detractor to neutral, and neutral to supporter levels, by applying the above tips for enhancing trust.

In subsequent articles we will look at relationships, dive into behaviors and our own inner state, and see how we can use Heartful leadership to work from the inside out to create better trust, relationships, reputation and, as a result, influence and outcomes.



Article by RAVI VENKATESAN


 

Ravi Venkatesan

About Ravi Venkatesan

Ravi lives in Atlanta, Georgia, and currently works as Chief Technology Officer in a software solutions company. He is also a regular public speaker and public speaking coach. He has been a Heartfulness meditator for over 20 years and is passionate about applying meditation lessons to improve workplace relationships and productivity.


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