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5 Ways Leaders Unintentionally Undermine Trust

3. Never be vulnerable.

Leaders sometimes have this mistaken idea that leadership is about always being in control and knowing all the answers. But when does a ship most need its captain—when seas are calm, or when a tempest throws everything into chaos?

An effective leader doesn’t have to always be in control or know the right answer in order to lead greatly. The leader’s job is not to know the answers. His job is to lead. Those are not the same thing.

Think of a group of people lost in the wilderness trying to find the way out. They still need a leader, and she doesn’t have to know the way out to lead them well.

All that to say, when leaders refuse to admit their weakness and confusion to those they lead, they (of necessity) put up a false front. They fake it.

And despite what they think, their people can tell they are faking it. Leading from a false front or facade is a form of lying, and lying undermines trust.

Simple solution: Don’t hide. Show your weakness. Practice transparency. And keep leading.

4. Never let other people’s ideas win out over yours.

Leaders who believe their idea is always the best one in the room don’t need a team. They need minions—mindless thralls to carry out their bidding. And nobody likes being somebody else’s minion.

In creative meetings, if your ideas always win, your team will start to feel you don’t really value the creativity and brilliance they have to offer. And they will lose faith in you.

Simple solution: Regularly let other people’s good ideas win out over yours. The net result over time will be better for everyone—including you.