If your team doesn't trust you, you can be rest assured that you would not have a team for long. One of the most important reasons for why teams stick together with their leaders would be because they feel that their leaders exhibit a high moral behaviour.
These are four ways to maintain your character so that you would be able to lead effective teams.
1. Know Your Ground. Knowing your ground is to know your principles. Knowing your principles means that you know where you stand morally. If you have some form of principles in which you set your lifestyle by, your character would be reflected.
For example, if I had to choose a project leader from two persons, and one was a tri-athlete, and the other was just a normal man in the street, I would immediately pick the sportsman because in order to reach his level of fitness, he would have exhibited discipline. And discipline is a principle.
Do you have some ground rules for yourself so that you know where to draw the line? If you know where the out-of-bound markers are for yourself, you are clearer in setting rules for your team members.
2. Be Trustworthy. Being trustworthy means that people can trust how you behave in the open is how you would behave in the dark.
Jack Neo, a famous Singaporean actor, television host and director was the first filmmaker in Singapore to be honoured with the Public Service Award in 2004. He was also a Cultural Medallion recipient. He managed to assemble a great team of comedians, actors and actresses to touch the lives of many Singaporeans and perhaps even many Asians. However in 2010, his illicit affair with a young girl opened a can of worms and it sent his world crashing down.
His artiste management company of around ten years is now is danger of collapsing because his senior partners want nothing to do with him.
As a leader, if you aren't trustworthy, you really have nothing worthwhile for your team members to follow. If your own family members can't trust you, why should they?
3. Be Reliable. If reliable means that if you agree to do a task, you would do so and not give any reasons not to do it. To lead an effective team, you need to be reliable to delegate the jobs to your team members, and to expect yourself to do more in a shorter time.
I used to have a superior who would always report sick just before a major presentation. We would work together all the way until the day itself, and lo and behold, he would not be present. And there I was, one of the most junior officers trying to get a grip of myself explaining concepts to the general. I must thank that superior though because if not for his absence, I would not have gained the experience in writing this article!
Are you reliable enough for your team members? If they ask you for help, would you agree immediately? What would be the consequence if you were not there for them?
4. Be Transparent. Being transparent really means that you have nothing to hide. Of course there would be certain information that is not privy to your team members. For such circumstances, just tell them that it's a need to know basis. Once your team members know that there is certain information that you are not in a right position to divulge, they will learn appropriately. People are smart. They learn and adapt fast, so don't worry too much.
If you are a transparent leader, you would not hesitate to share your success and failures as you would understand them to be lessons. Similarly, you would enforce the same for your team so that all would learn from each other.
Are you able to treat all failures as feedback and share these with your team members?
In summary, these four ways are just the tip of the ice berg in the never-ending quest of leadership learning. Use them appropriately and you would first see changes in yourself, and then in others.