Build Trust by Fostering Openness in Your Team

Linda Dulye's picture

motivate mentor coach.jpgAre you able to admit to your team that you don't know something? For some leaders, letting down their guard may be difficult.

After all, as a leader you're supposed to know a little about everything, right?

Of course not.

In a recent installment of Corner Office in The New York Times, Robin Domeniconi, the CEO of Elle Group, explains why admitting she doesn't know something helps her earn trust as a leader:


I'm not shy about saying to [my team]: "I don't understand how to do this. I have this idea. But you've done this before. How does this work?" And this might be with someone who works, maybe, three levels below me. It doesn't matter. Because I know once I understand something, I can guide it. And that's basically what my role is -- to guide the ship.

I once had an editor say to me, "You're the best publisher I've ever had because you're not afraid to show your vulnerability." And I think it offers a sense of humanity and humility to the entire team. And, so, once they see that, they know I'm not some unapproachable C.E.O. or president. I'm not, and I'm willing to trust that you're O.K. with that. I have enough confidence to do that. I would like you to have enough confidence, too.

Have you come across a leader that isn't afraid to dispense with the notion they know it all? If so, did it make you more open in your dealings with them?

Leave us a comment!


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