The Know, Like and Trust Factor: 3 Pillars for Creating Powerful teams

In this Post:

  • The Kicking Boxes Podcast is Now LIVE!
  • Leadership Lessons to build the “Know, Like and Trust” factor
  • A Free Gift to You Today: “7 Key Non-Technical Skills for Outstanding Leadership Results” eBook

First off, I am excited to announce that the Kicking Boxes podcast is now live! iTunes, Google Play, and Stitcher Radio approved it much faster than I expected. Our first 3 podcasts are available and I would appreciate very much it if you would subscribe and download them, as we try to provide you with a lot of valuable tips in the interviews. In Episode 1 I describe the podcast and the format. In Episode 2 I interview Ron Gantt, from SCM, about leadership and engaging with front line teams. In Episode 3 I interview Bill Brown, from Secutor Solutions, to discuss the importance of organizational learning, lessons learned systems, and how managers can become better leaders. I am trying to get the podcast featured in iTunes New and Noteworthy section. Would you help me to do this? Please subscribe and download the episodes and give the show a rating and review on iTunes. I really appreciate your help and I hope you enjoy the show.

If you can't access through iTunes or Stitcher Radio you can listen on our website at or If you like the podcast can you please help me spread the word? Word of mouth is our best advertising! 

Now onto the newsletter article for today (and your FREE eBook)!
In the leadership chapter of my book Team Leadership in High-Hazard Environments: Performance, Safety and Risk Management Strategies for Operational Teams I describe some of the requirements to be a successful leader. These include what I call “The 3 Cs and the L”-Competence, Confidence, Credibility and Likeability. I also describe how Likeability may be the least important, because, let’s face it, some people simply won’t like us for one reason or another, but if we have the 3 Cs then we can build a mutual relationship between ourselves and our teams that is built on trust. Workers will understand that we have their best interests in mind and that as a team we are set up for success and to help achieve our goals.
As a consultant and coach, I am also an entrepreneur, who is constantly seeking to find ways to expand and scale what I am doing with V-Speed. In that effort I spend a lot of time reading about how other companies were founded, how they developed products and services, how they treated their employees and customers, and how they succeeded or failed. In my studies of business development, I have learned there are 3 key pillars that help leaders create successful organizations. These correlate well with the 3 Cs and the L and are closely aligned with Emotional Intelligence. When customers know, like and trust organizations they are more likely to do business with them, but isn’t this true within companies as well? Aren’t employees more likely to put forth their best effort if they know, like, and trust their leaders? If so, then I think it is important to understand a few ways to build the “know, like and trust factor.”

  • Know: Do you get to know your workers? Do you try to find out something about them and what motivates and inspires them? Do you let them know something about you and what motivates you to do the work you do? You don’t have to become best friends, but getting to know each other is important in helping team members and leaders to like and trust one another.
  • Like: Do you engage in real conversations with your workers? It is understandable that during business, focus must be maintained on the work goals, but sometimes taking a few minutes to address your team to let them know you have their best interests in mind and that you are all after a unified goal for the organization can help build likeability.
  • Trust: Are you asking workers what they need to help optimize their performance? Are you doing what you can to honestly communicate with them? It is understandable that you can’t grant every request they make, but building trust doesn’t mean giving them everything they ask for. If you openly communicate with them about what you can and cannot do, but let them know you are trying this can help build trust. Additionally, if you do take action where you can and show them the results, this can go a long way in building trust. 

The world is not a utopia and there isn’t one secret recipe for achieving these 3 pillars. However, even if workers don’t like their leaders, building common understanding and trust may help to develop some common connections and understanding about work goals that can make the work more enjoyable. I remember working with some Marine aircrew members years ago, and I indeed liked most of them. We didn’t hang out off duty, but I enjoyed working with them because we could find some common ground and get along with each other. There were a rare few that I didn’t like, and honestly, they probably didn’t like me either. However, we knew each other and we had a common bond and trust between each other and we knew we had each other’s back. That didn’t necessarily build up likeability, but it made the work more enjoyable, which is similar to liking the other person.
So, as a leader trying to develop and maintain resilient and highly reliable teams, what can you do to start improving your emotional intelligence, and helping you and your teams build mutual ways to know, like, and trust each other? I would say it starts with the leader setting the example, getting out into the field or on the production floor and engaging with your workers. Creating opportunities to find out what workers need and how you can help make their jobs more efficient, or how you can help them with safety while meeting the objectives of the business may pay big dividends in the long run. If teams see leaders working to serve their best interests (which should be aligned with the mission of the organization), they may open up more and give you greater effort. What are you doing with near-miss reports? If a worker submits a near-miss report and no action is taken or if the results are not explained to the worker this can break down trust in the process and trust in leaders.  Leaders you should walk the talk and model the behaviors they wish to see in others and follow through on what they say you will do. One of the leadership principles in the Marine Corps is “Know your troops and keep them informed.” Sometimes just keeping the communication cycle going and providing feedback can go a long way in keeping up motivation.
I won’t pretend the leadership is easy, but it is worth the effort. Sometimes leaders need tools to help them along the way because leadership is not the end, it is a journey and we should never stop learning on the journey. Therefore, I want to give you a free gift to help you. In this eBook, titled “7 Key Non-Technical Skills for Outstanding Leadership Results,” I describe some key skills, which I think can help you along your leadership journey. I hope you enjoy it! If you would like a copy, please enter your email address here and we'll send it to you:


P.S. Related to this subject of leadership, I am considering developing an online course specifically targeting key leadership skills that are needed by tactical leaders who work closely with teams at “the sharp end” (where the work gets done). The tentative course title is "Leadership for the Real World." There’s a link in the eBook to get on the list if you’re interested, or you can click here to get on the interest list. If there is sufficient interest we'll let you know!

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Until next time, thanks for reading, and have a great, productive, and safe day!