Your effectiveness as a leader correlates with the amount of trust the people you lead have in you. The less trust they have in you, the more time you’ll have to spend making a case for what you’re trying to get done.
If your people trust you, they are going to accept what you’re asking of them without question. They’ll be able to say to themselves, “Ed wouldn’t ask me if it wasn’t in the best interest of the organization.”
Are you aware of how your style enhances or impairs how you’re perceived as a leader and how it attracts or repels trust? Your style can cause people to see you as equal to them, beneath them, or above them.
Your manner of speaking, dressing, and simply being in your workplace comprise your style.
Even the pronouns you use can repel or attract trust from those you address. Do you use the word “I” more often than you use the word “we” or “you?” There might be times for saying “I want you do to this” versus “You need to do this.” But there are probably more times when no pronoun is best: “This is what needs to be accomplished.” Or, “This is what needs to be accomplished; what are we going to do?” Or “This is what needs to be accomplished; what do you think you should do?”
Sometimes the best way to get commitment is with: “This is what needs to be accomplished; what do you need from me?”
When should you use the pronoun “I?” Probably only when you’re beating yourself up in discussions with other people, as in, “I let you down.”
Your words make a difference; so does the packaging you wrap your leadership in.
Your style includes the clothing you wear, the car you drive, where you park, how late or early you’re at the office. Donald Trump has his traditional dark-suit-with-power-tie style, Mark Zuckerberg has his irreverent zip-up hoodie style, and Steve Jobs had his practical black turtleneck style.
Even where you situate your office in the floor plan and how you decorate it exudes your style and impacts the trust and respect you will command. If you’re a first-time CEO of a flailing business with a massive oak-paneled corner office, your style probably isn’t winning anyone’s trust or respect. If you’ve been a great leader for 30 years with proven successes, people might look at that office and say, “You know what, she’s earned that.” Don’t underestimate how your style affects your ability to lead.