By Doug Staneart, CEO

Coaching and mentoring team members can be one of the most challenging responsibilities of leaders and managers. “Why won’t my team just do what they are supposed to do?” is a common question that leaders often think if not outright speak. One important thing to remember is that before we can coach or lead others, they have to have a solid trust in the leader personally as well as professionally. Otherwise, our team will always want to play “devil’s advocate” and try to improve the advice that they are receiving.

For instance, let’s say that some random person stops you on the street to give you financial advice and ask you to invest $10,000 in a new idea that will give you 1000% return on your investment in just six months. Since you have no personal relationship with this person, your initial thought might be, “con man”. Since you have no professional track record with the person, you will probably be skeptical of any financial advice as well. The trust just isn’t there, so there is no way you’d follow this random person’s advice.

Let’s say that someone that you have know for years to be a high integrity person — the person always keeps his promises, follows through on projects/ideas, and treats people with respect — comes to you with the same idea. Well if that person doesn’t exactly have a track record of success, you’d probably accept the advice, but ask A LOT of questions. That person has personal credibility with you, but not professional credibility.

However, if you know the person to be trustworthy personally, and he has a track record of success in his industry, then advice from the person is given much more weight. The trust is what determines if the the person receiving the advice accepts the advice.

So, if you have ever said or thought, “Why won’t my team just do what they are supposed to do?”, you may not have a people problem — you might have a trust problem. Show your team that you are a trustworthy person by following through on your commitments, treating your team with respect, encouraging two-way communication with them. Then create a track-record of professional success. If you do the first part, the second part is a piece of cake! ^

Doug Staneart is the CEO of The Leader’s Institute Leadership Training Company and author of 28 Ways to Influence People and gain Buy-In. He teaches leadership and team building events in cities all over the United States, Canada, and Europe.