Trust and leadership

Sylvia Sage provided comments to Business Leader magazine for its feature on trust and leadership

Why is trust/being trusted such an important leadership trait? 

“In Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t, Simon Sinek talks about real leaders creating a circle of safety for their teams and their organisations. This is important so they can feel safe, trust each other and collaborate to manage the challenges of the external world, instead of spending all their energy fighting threats from within.

“If people trust their leaders, they can get on with their real work. Without trust and safety, people will spend all their time jockeying for position, worrying about being in favour. Performance, innovation, and wellbeing suffer – and staff turnover is high. If you want to keep good people, look after them – keep them safe.”

Has public/business trust in political leadership ever been at a lower point?

“Trust is vital for businesses. If businesses don’t feel that politicians have their interests at heart, this can have a profound effect on their growth potential. Uncertainty creates its own dangers and can threaten the confidence and success of a business.

“The key consideration here is the perceived behaviour of our elected politicians and representatives of our country. Ideally, these should be people we respect and look up to, people we would emulate. However, many politicians now not at all in tune with their own country and their people. If we could teach our politicians anything, we should begin with fundamental people skills – real listening, empathy and dialogue.”