• Article
  • November 16, 2021

Leadership Tip: Building Trust Among Your Teams

Establishing—and maintaining—trust is vital but requires additional effort for leaders.

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Laurie Schulenberg, MPA/HCA, B.S.N., RN, NEA-BC, interim chief nursing officer, Children’s Hospital New Orleans.

Laurie Schulenberg can think of no better way to spend her daily commute. "I listen to tons of leadership podcasts—that's my jam," says Schulenberg, MPA/HCA, B.S.N., RN, NEA-BC, interim chief nursing officer, Children’s Hospital New Orleans.

She says one topic from a recent episode caught her attention. "I was listening to the John Maxwell podcast, and he was talking about ‘trust busters’ and ‘trust builders,’" Schulenberg says. "I think that is one of the biggest things for us as leaders—whether we’re moving into a new role, starting a new job or onboarding new people—is to build trust quickly; it is really valuable."

Given or earned?

Central to the conversation, according to Schulenberg, is the question of whether trust should be given or must be earned. She says she makes it a practice to give trust without hesitation until that person violates it. However, she says leaders within an organization should be held to a different standard.

"As a leader, it works both ways," Schulenberg says. "We should automatically give our trust to others around us in the workplace, but leaders should also have to earn it."

Schulenberg says leaders can earn the trust of their teams by being true to their word, doing what they say they're going to do and following through on their commitments. And once trust is earned, it must be carefully protected.

"We should never violate someone’s trust—that means never gossiping or talking about someone if they're not in the room and never violating when someone trusts us with information," Schulenberg says. "Never put your own self-interests above those of the organization and the people who work for you."