We recently discussed the importance of Internal Reliability to building a culture of trust. An equally important concept is a leader’s External Reliability. What exactly is External Reliability? In contrast to Internal Reliability (being true to one’s own principles), leaders with External Reliability are honest and trustworthy in relation to others. While it’s important to hold firmly to personal values, it is equally important to be consistent and uphold commitments we make, as leaders are less likely to accomplish goals without the trust of those around them.
Trust. The word can be a noun or a verb, but it’s important to note that in business, it’s a relationship. We’ve heard it many times – we need to build trust with clients, our colleagues, our direct reports — and in the workplace that translates to maintaining relationships we worked hard to build. Leaders with External Reliability have laid the groundwork for this reciprocity their entire working careers and have earned trust in spades.
External Reliability may not be the only characteristic that a leader needs to keep their employees happy, but in the Dale Carnegie Global Leadership Study 2016 it was revealed that when a leader lacks External Reliability, just 4% of their employees are satisfied with their jobs. When employees have a leader who is consistently truthful with others, job satisfaction jumps to 39%. So clearly, having a leader who can be trusted is important to satisfaction and engagement.
So, the million dollar question is, “How do you earn the trust of others?” Trust is not earned–it’s built. It’s a process. An ongoing process. In order to gain External Reliability, a leader must consistently take the ethical and moral high road. One could actually conclude that to have External Reliability, a leader must first possess Internal Reliability. Because when we are true to our principles and keep our commitments, people notice and deem us worthy of their trust.