In his book, The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg talks about keystone habits: Small changes or habits that people introduce into their routines that unintentionally carry over into other aspects of their lives.
A keystone habit for building trust is kindness.
Want to exercise four of the 5C’s of trustworthiness in one swoop?
Make it a habit to do an act of kindness every day for someone on your team.
Not for any gain or reward or to tally a point on some virtual scoreboard.
Simply do it because you care.
But what is kindness?
“Helpfulness towards someone in need, not in return for anything, nor for the advantage of the helper himself, but for that of the person helped.” — Aristotle
In one selfless act, you will clearly communicate to the recipient (and any others who become aware):
CHARACTER. You walk your talk that you value the people you work with.
COMMITMENT. You show your commitment to the team; not just when it results in some tangible reward for you and the company, but also when it doesn’t. The relationship has inherent value.
CONNECTION. You have taken the time and attention to notice, to see the other person, noted their need, and seized an opportunity to help without regard for return.
COMMUNICATION. This one act shouts louder than a thousand verbal platitudes.
(I suspect this will also enhance your COMPETENCE and effectiveness as a leader and teammate, but I’ll leave it at four for now).
And for those tough-guy and tough-gal leaders who think they will lose their edge if they are viewed as being “kind,” think about what you are giving up by being viewed as aloof and lacking kindness.
PDAs, laptops, notebooks, and the internet have allowed us to be more in touch, but less CONNECTED.
Be a High-Trust Leader: make an act of kindness a habit every day.
P.S. thanks to Ken Sande.