When you lead a team, communication is paramount. Not only is it how you get things done, but it’s also vital to team dynamics, building trust, and keeping up morale. Which means it’s more than just being responsive and meeting with the team on a regular basis. It’s about being a transparent leader.
Transparency + Authenticity
The first thing that you need to understand is that transparency without vulnerability is not authenticity.
Just rattling facts and figures off to your team without context or honest reactions as to how those facts and figures will look in reality, then you’re only fulfilling half of the equation. Now some things you can’t share with your teams and what that is will depend on the company where you work. But, whenever possible, try to bring people in whenever possible. Let them know the situation, your thoughts and concerns, really listen to their feedback, and, if possible, address the concerns and answer their questions honestly. Transparency and honesty are two way-streets, if you aren’t transparent and honest with your team, you can’t expect them to be that with you.
Body Language is Key
People don’t always feel comfortable expressing their opinions or feelings, especially if you’re only just starting to build trust. Be sure to watch your team’s body language. What happens when you’re transparent versus when you’re not?
Respect vs. Like
The next important step is to stop focusing on getting your team to like you. Now, hold on, I’m not saying you should just be insensitive and disregard their emotions. But don’t confuse respect with being liked. You can respect someone without having to like them. You can trust a leader to do the right thing and be honest with you even if you don’t necessarily like them. Build respect because of expertise and trust because of understanding.