If you want high performing teams, they have to be built first and foremost on a foundation of trust. Patrick Lencioni cites the lack of trust as the first (of five) dysfunctions of a team. The team members must feel that their other teammates will “have their back” when things get rough. And as a manager or leader, that includes you too. In fact, if you want to shift your organizational culture to a more empowered, trust-based culture, management must lead the way by demonstrating (not just talking about) the values and behavioral norms you want for the organization.
One key factor that trust is built on is consistency. Are you consistent in your behavior? Are you complimentary one moment and then arrogant or dismissive the next? Are you puerile? Vindictive? People trust their leadership when the feel they know how you will react in various situations. With trust they will feel they can bring issues to you for help when necessary without risking their positions. If your behavior varies significantly, your teams realize they cannot understand what your reaction to any given problem will be. They won’t feel safe to be honest with you. In other words, they won’t trust you.
And if you think you can behave one way in front of your teams and another in private, you are deluding yourself. When it comes to sensing duplicities, people seem to have x-ray vision. They are very good at detecting such contrary behavior. And when they do, trust may never develop.
To be a true leader you must build trust. Otherwise your teams won’t progress and you’ll remain simply a taskmaster.