We recently hosted a LinkedIn Live on building trust through values-based leadership, and thought it deserved a recap and an opportunity for you to dig into the details and actions from it.

Focused on the importance of Values-Based Leadership, this series has given current and potential ClearEdge Rising participants, and their allies, a feel for what the experience is like in our cohorts, which kicked off earlier this year. (Schedule your 1:1 if you’d like to know how you and / or your team can get involved in the next cohort.)

How a values-based leadership approach can build greater trust with teams and coworkers

Given that hybrid work has resulted in dispersed workforces, demands for innovation are on the rise, burn-out is at its peak, and turnover remains an ongoing concern, it’s more important than ever for an organization’s leadership team to understand how trust (or a lack of it) impacts employee morale and business success. Because, as we know, the level of trust within an organization most often takes its cue from leadership.  

According to research, if an office has high levels of trust, employees are 50% more productive and 76% more engaged, with 74% lower stress levels. In fact, leadership trust is the highest-ranked motivator of employee engagement.  

Without trust in and from leadership, organizations cannot thrive. 

As women in leadership, we often feel the need to be guarded or wary given our past experiences and the standards we’ve been held to. Naturally, this can make it seem like trust is difficult to build. But the reality is that we can maintain our boundaries while at the same time building trust, if we practice values-based leadership.


With trust, all things are possible

By practicing values-based leadership, we enhance our working relationships in meaningful ways. Perhaps one of the most meaningful is ensuring that others feel seen, heard, and understood.

Leadership is a commitment to ourselves and others. We have a responsibility to be present and respectful to those around us. By giving everyone our full attention and showing a genuine interest in their ideas, hopes, and concerns, an instant connection forms. Others—coworkers, team members, direct reports—feel cared for and valued, which builds confidence in themselves and motivates them to be their best. 

The connective thread woven through all of this is trust. 

As a values-based leader, you develop trust—trust that you have best interests at heart, trust that people are safe to contribute and feel vulnerable as they grow and learn, and trust in your ability to shape the future of the organization in a positive way.

Ultimately, as leaders of people, teams, and processes, trust is how we create a better environment where creativity and purpose can thrive. 

A values-based approach creates a space where you can clearly see others for more than their roles or responsibilities, one where you’re also able to see them for their core values and feel those values in your interactions with them.


Values-based leadership is a process, not a destination

Practicing values-based leadership is exactly that, a practice. It’s a daily commitment to move forward in a way that aligns with your core values, to the best of your ability. And to listen to the values that live under the surface of the conversations you’re having with others.

Some days will be better, or easier, than others. And that’s ok. 

Your goal is improvement. Not perfection. If, by your standards, you can improve by 2% in terms of the quality of your presence with people, and your ability to recognize the values they are showing up with, that is something to celebrate. 

The smallest steps, like making an effort to self-manage external distractions (email, phone, IM) and internal ones (the internal dialogue and to-do lists we carry around in our heads) have a huge impact.

Leadership is not unlike professional coaching. Coaches show up in an intentional manner with focused practices, insights, and actions designed to support the goals of the person being coached. As a leader coming from a place of values, you are present and available to those around you in a very similar way.


Leading with values to cultivate trust: a final thought

As leaders, we have to be purposeful and proactive in how we create and build trust. With this in mind, I’d like to leave you with one final thought that came up in conversation:

Teams will always experience conflict and you, as the team’s leader, can use that conflict as an opportunity to build trust amongst the team and with you. When you look and listen for what’s below the surface of the complaining, fighting, or finger pointing you will find the values that people are attached to. By identifying those, naming them aloud, and guiding the conversation to focus on finding alignment across those values, you are taking a values-based approach that is sure to drive trust and deeper connection. 

If you’d like to learn more about how involvement in ClearEdge Rising can help you or those on your team explore complex and important leadership topics like values, or if you’re ready to join the diverse community of women leaders who are part of our growing community, email us anytime at rise@meetclearedge.com.