In order to build real trust, a person has to be willing to be vulnerable in front of others.
This is a tough one for an Asian male like me. My culture of “face-saving” is not conducive to exposing weaknesses. I’ve had friends tell me that I’m easy to befriend but hard to really get to know. In business, my leadership style has been more based on ability to motivate and inspire than on building trust and unbreakable team cohesion. I think that is in part my inability (or unwillingness) to expose my vulnerabilities.
In my younger days, this was a reaction to my upbringing and youthful insecurities. Now, I’ve finally started questioning my desire to appear infallible to others? If I really was confident in myself, shouldn’t I be able to overcome the limitations that my “face-saving” reactions cause in my relationship with friends and colleagues? I will never be one to discuss my personal problems (other than about my children) too openly. But I will try to be more honest about who I am and my vulnerabilities. I think it will help my relationships on all fronts.
My challenge to other leaders is to look honestly at how vulnerable you are in front of your teams. That answer probably directly reflects the type of team you are running.