You may think a leader speaks with charisma and bravado. Perhaps, if on a stage presenting a product launch to an audience of 500 (for example, Steve Jobs). But in close teams and interpersonal interactions that build trust, authenticity wins out every time. Here’s what you’ll hear from the most effective and humble leaders.
“That was my fault.”
Great leaders put their ego aside, because admitting to being human and making mistakes actually increases trust. Paul Zak, author of Trust Factor: The Science of Creating High-Performance Companies, says, “People who are imperfect are more attractive to us. We like them more than people who seem too perfect.”
“I couldn’t have done it without you.”
This is quite possibly the highest form of saying thank you. By acknowledging someone else’s effort for going above and beyond, a leader makes that person look good by shining the spotlight on their individual contributions, which he or she deserves. When reinforced as a cultural trait, this simple act of encouragement is mental booster that will send ripples of trust across the organization.
“Can I get your advice on this?”
A study conducted by researchers at Harvard Business School and the Wharton School linked people who ask for advice to being perceived as more competent. One of the study’s authors, Alison Wood Brooks, says: “In our research, we find that people are hesitant to ask for advice because they are afraid they will appear incompetent.” She says that this is misplaced fear. The reality is that “people view those who seek their advice as more competent than those who do not seek their advice.”