Followers look for someone they can trust, who exhibits strong morals and does what they say they will do. Trust takes time to build between people and it happens much more easily when the two people are working towards a common goal. When progress is being made towards that common goal, trust is one of the outcomes.
Trust can be destroyed in an instant through a careless word or action, so it is key for leaders to guard against actions that might cause their followers to mistrust them. Even the slightest hint of dishonesty or covering up can have negative consequences for the leader-follower relationship.
Followers need leaders who will care for them especially when the going gets tough, as it is at the moment. Are you a leader who gives the benefit of the doubt when a team member makes a mistake? How we respond when someone else slips up is critical and is always an opportunity to show compassion.
Make sure you are regularly checking up on your team members at the moment and giving them the opportunity to express their doubts, fears and struggles, even if you don’t have the answer. It’s the listening and caring that counts most. Letting them know that you share their struggles and want to be a support is critically important.
This is a hard one at the moment. It’s difficult to predict what the post-Covid world will look like. As the economy responds to the crisis there will be tough decisions to be made and many jobs lost. What can you do to respond to the need for stability?
You can help your team members by talking about the things that won’t change despite the crisis – the love of families, the caring of the community, faith that things will improve. Show that you value these things, and build them into your daily conversations.
Leaders are looked to for hope in a crisis. Even when things are tough you can always express hope that better days are coming. Look for the positive in each situation. Look in the media for positive stories that tell how people are reacting positively to life under lockdown and share them with your followers.
Now is the time to think about your positive to negative ratio (PNR). According to Kouzes and Posner, we all need a ratio of 3 positive interactions to 1 negative interaction. In fact people who experience the 3:1 ratio are more productive and effective in their work.