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Leadership Lessons in Trust

November 19 2018 - by Nadia Spencer- Henry, Debt Manager, Ministry of Finance and Corporate Governance - Antigua & Barbuda, and CLP Alumna

As a leader in the area of public finance, building and maintaining strong interpersonal relationships is critical.  I know that most of my work hinges on maintaining the confidences of my peers and trusting in their abilities.  With my team, supporting a strong rapport allows me to motivate and inspire them toward innovation and challenging goals. 

However, learning to trust and to be trusted is not as simple as it sounds. For the most part trust is built on the results of working with someone over a period of time and weathering difficult tasks with them. It involves knowing your teams buried and evident strengths and weaknesses, striving to understand each team member individually, and making use of your team members’ strengths through delegation. 

From my experience, I’ve met with leaders who have tried to trust and have found themselves disappointed over and over again. However, leaders should not give up. Building trusting relationships requires going back to the drawing board and traversing the political landscape of the workplace when necessary. 

In this blog, I want to share with you some techniques that were provided in my Emotional Quotient Inventory that I continue to make use of as I traverse this delicate matter of trust. 

My recommended steps were as follows: 

  1. Identify an individual outside your team whose relationship with you is superficial at best.
  2. What have you done to earn their trust and their willingness to help you? List what you think this person needs from you.
  3. Meet with this person to confirm your perspective. Emphasize the importance of understanding mutual needs and arrive at an action plan to support one another on common goals.

 I can tell you from experience that this will not be easy and you may even question why it is even necessary. However, as with everything else it starts with the desire to build a stronger team and more resilient and trusting relationships. Be intentional.

In my first attempt I failed miserably and the person started to treat me as if I was the weird one. I was the one who was not trusted and the person approached me with caution when handling every exercise. They constantly questioned my judgment and double-checked my reports for accuracy. After a few tense meetings the relationship blossomed into a productive one. We readily shared notes and pretty soon I was trusted to take over in the person’s absence. Ongoing communication and a bit of persistence on my part was key.

What small steps can you commit to taking to build healthy interpersonal relationships?

What tips can you share that have helped you to build trusting relationships as a leader?


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