Business Magazine

Trust and Leadership

Posted on the 06 October 2021 by Alanhargreaves @RechargeToday

Trust and Leadership

Prefer to listen? Click here

Trust and Leadership
What’s good for you can be good for others

People go better when they feel good. It’s something we all know. We can see it in ourselves and in others. It’s also the conclusion of any quality research on the subject of leadership. 

But if it’s that good, why don’t we put more focus on generating that outcome?

What does the science say?

It’s much to do with oxytocin vs cortisol, drugs that naturally occur in our brain. The former is the source of feel-good emotions, the latter generates the not-so-good opposite ones. If you want your team to perform at their best, the best thing you can do is support their oxytocin quotient.

Trust and Leadership
Studies show oxytocin builds trust, encouraging people to be more generous with others, more open to collaboration and more trusting of their leaders. It doesn’t happen on its own. Leadership styles have the power to nurture it or destroy it, be it in business or life.

If asked about schooldays, two teachers always come to mind. With Teacher One, I remember answering a question in his first class of the year, unsure of myself but doing the best I could. He said my answer was excellent, thanked me for it, and went on to explain to the class why it was good, but also how we could build on it to make it better. We’re talking oxytocin overload here. It became my favorite class. By year end I found myself at the top of the class. 

Trust and Leadership
Teacher Two was a stressed and cranky critic, dismissive of anyone struggling with his subject. We never seemed to progress. Performance declined as we slowly disengaged. 

We’ve all experienced both types in management. Just as school grades are affected by teacher styles, so are business outcomes. A broad-ranging analysis by Paul Zak (HBR, Feb 17) reports leadership styles akin to Teacher One yield up to 50% higher productivity, fewer sick days, deeper engagement and lower staff turnover. The beauty of this is the gains are free. There’s no costly investment in hard assets. You just be the best leader you can be.

A simple roadmap

Trust and Leadership
It’s not that complicated. Think of what makes you feel good. Maybe others might enjoy the same thing. Here’s a list of proven oxytocin fuels:

Democratic Delegation: don’t micromanage. Be available for questions, but when you assign a project, let them get on with it. Their way may even turn out to be better. Either way, jointly and positively examine the learnings for each of you. If it doesn’t work out, you’ll both be accountable. If it does work out, you’ll both look good. You can make it a stretch, but don’t kill motivation by setting the bar ridiculously high. Thank them for their contribution. Publicly compliment success.

Build Relationships: Positive leadership rests on mutual trust. Studies on animal responses show high oxytocin levels signal to other animals that they are safe to approach. Tests on humans show the same. Knowing you are approachable gives colleagues confidence in your decisions and your leadership. They know you are there for them.

Trust and Leadership
Be Authentic: It’s not about you: the C-suite includes leaders of everything from finance and operations through HR & IT to sales and marketing. That’s because no one is good at everything. You aren’t either.  People can spot inauthentic behavior a mile away, so don’t opt for a facade that you are on top of the lot. Just be the best leader you can be.

Be Teacher One.

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog