Nine Steps Leaders Can Take to Build Trust - Slide 6

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Don’t punish “good failures.” This is one of the stupidest things an organization can do — yet it happens all the time. A “good failure” is a term used in Silicon Valley to describe a new business startup or mature company initiative that, by most measures, is well-planned, well-run and well-organized — yet for reasons beyond its control (an unexpected competitive product, a change in the market or economy) it fails. In other words, “good failures” occur when you play well, but still lose. When they’re punished, you instill a fear of risk-taking in your employees, and with that you stifle creativity and innovation.

Corporate leaders as a group have largely failed to earn the trust of their employees, and that includes IT managers, who may be particularly lacking in some of the qualities that define a trusted leader.

That’s the assessment of John Hamm, a Silicon Valley-based venture capitalist, leadership advisor and author of the book, “Unusually Excellent: The Necessary Nine Skills Required for the Practice of Great Leadership.” Don Tennant recently spoke with Hamm, who made it clear that he sees among employees in corporate America a widespread lack of trust of those in authority in their companies, and that the fault lies squarely with the leaders. What lies at the heart of this failure to earn employee trust isn’t maliciousness, Hamm said. It’s obliviousness.

In his book, Hamm has outlined some steps leaders can take to build trust in their companies. Those steps are highlighted in this slideshow.

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