Great leaders exhibit many diverse skills, but they all rely on a solid foundation of trust. Even the most captivating and decisive leader needs the trust of their team members, or else they risk discord and apathy in the company.
According to one study shared in the Harvard Business Review, there are three elements of trust. Leaders must nurture positive relationships, exercise good judgment, and be consistent.
- Positive relationships entail open communication, honest feedback, conflict resolution, and frequent check-ins with team members.
- Good judgment and expertise are expressed as effective decision-making, valuable contributions, and healthy responsiveness to problems.
- Consistency means following through on promises, maintaining patterns, and being a reliable role model.
Interestingly, of the three elements, one was shown to have a uniquely profound impact on a leader’s trustworthiness: positive relationships. While we recommend that any leader exhibit good judgment, industry (or subject) expertise, and consistency, research showed that relationship skills generated a sense of trust more powerfully than the other two.
How can engineering leaders embody this trustworthy quality? Focus on collaboration, communication, and empowering your people.
TRUST + POSITIVE RELATIONSHIPS
Trust can be hard to earn, but it’s understandably also hard to grant. Leaders may struggle with the balance of trusting their team and needing some visibility below the surface. Instead of mandating or micromanaging, best practices recommend making expectations clear and then providing developers with the tools they need to fulfill those expectations.
Developers generally want to be productive and advance their careers. When expectations go unmet, however, it’s common for managers to switch into a micromanaging mindset. Instead of creating an enforcement relationship with individual contributors, we recommend that managers supply their team members with more information. Critically, managers can frame the work within the context of larger company goals, then show a clear path forward to clearly stated goals. Developers gain the ability to choose their day-by-day and feel a sense of accomplishment—and keeping devs connected to the larger picture gives true context to their efforts and shows where they’re providing value. At the same time, this allows leadership to focus on high-level strategy and burnout without feeling the need to check on step-by-step progress.
HOW UPLEVEL HELPS BUILD TRUST
Inviting a data-centric tool like Uplevel gives everyone similar visibility into work and well-being. You can arrive at conversations with the same information, sparing everyone the need to “break the news” or debate.
When it comes to leadership and developers, work on a foundation of trust. Uplevel considers two broad categories of metrics: Project Health and People Health. Every level of the organization gets a custom view: Developers see their personal metrics, managers see their team metrics, directors see their team and reporting teams, and executives get company-wide trend data.
- Project Health: Git, Jira, PR Cycle Time, Collaboration, Sprint Progress, Meeting Analysis
- People Health: Work Allocation, Overtime, Context Switching, Deep Work, 1:1 Reports
In a world of information overload, it’s critical to connect the right people with the right data. Leveling up with an engineering insights platform can empower every role on your team with the information needed to excel. When everyone has access, transparency builds trust.
|Builds trust||Erodes trust|
|✔️ Supporting developers at their unique levels||🔴 Stack-ranking developers by lines of code|
|✔️ Nurturing a culture of healthy sprints and personal well-being||🔴 Rallying around ambitious deadlines at the expense of burnout|
|✔️ Using data to guide improvement||🔴 Using data to point out flaws|
|✔️ Clearing roadblocks to productivity||🔴 Enforcing a productivity quota|
|✔️ Granting autonomy to individual contributors||🔴 Managing with a top-down perspective|
|✔️ Sharing data across the org||🔴 Limiting data to leadership|
Curious how Uplevel can help your engineering organization? Schedule a demo today.