Original Post by Alex Johnsen:
In my opinion, rapport is finding common ground amongst people which allows one to facilitate bonds between team members. Trust is what allows someone to have faith in another person’s decisions such that they believe the person making the decisions is looking out for their well-being and best interests. Rapport is the seed that develops into the tree that is trust. Both rapport and trust are imperative in a leadership role if one wants to be an effective and inspirational leader. On a personal level, I can attest to the importance of both of these characteristics with my immediate managers. I have a great rapport with both of them and trust them entirely so I think they are great leaders.
As far as authority figures are concerned, one doesn’t necessarily need either trait. For example, there are some executives at my organization that I have never met so I haven’t had the opportunity to establish a rapport with them and I don’t just inherently trust them. On a larger scale, think of the President of the United States. He is the ultimate authority figure in our country but because I have never met him, I don’t have a rapport with him and I don’t just inherently trust him either, yet he is still an authority figure. I think in order to be a great leader, an authority figure must establish and develop rapport and trust. Without them, they are just a figure that makes decisions and delegates tasks.
According to our text, one of the ten qualities that mark a leader is their concern for others (Manning 2014, 33). Furthermore, “Concern for others requires patience and listening, and the result is trust, the bedrock of loyalty. Loyalty to followers generates loyalty to the leader…” Manning 2014, 33).
Manning, George. 2014. The Art of Leadership. New York: McGraw-Hill
Great point that rapport is the seed that develops in the tree that is trust. It’s interesting to consider the link between common ground, sympathy, empathy and trust. Perhaps, when a leader finds common ground with a follower, they are able to connect about having the same feeling. Then, from there, empathy can emerge. Your post brought up a great concept that people start to trust when they feel understood by the leader. Followers cannot feel as though their needs are being met if the leader does not even understand what the needs are. If the followers feel as though their needs are not being met, then they will not feel safe.
What are some specific successful strategies to building rapport that you have observed? Are there any that your trustworthy managers did that stuck out to you?
Is there a way we can trust people who we have not met yet? As we move into a technology-heavy era, is it possible to gain someone’s trust without meeting face to face?
It’s so true that building rapport and trust requires patience. Sometimes a leader and follower in a dynamic it too quick to determine from the onset if rapport and trust is possible to build. I would rather move slow with a relationship with my leader and sense their patience in building rapport and trust with me. I feel as though I would get suspicious if they unnaturally tried to establish rapport and trust with me in a rushed manner.
Comment by Alex Johnsen:
Great questions. I think two character traits that really stand out to me and that I admire most in my favorite managers are their work ethic and how they interact with people during stressful instances. Personally, I can’t really respect someone that doesn’t work as hard as me. So, the managers that I most trust and respect all work much harder than me – they lead by example. Also, anyone can get along during good times, but when there is a mistake or tough situation at work, it is really telling to see how a manager deals with a difficult client or with addressing an error made by a subordinate. The managers that show emotional maturity and have a measured response that is both effective at correcting a situation while also being kind and caring are the managers I most look up to. I can’t stand it when a person in a leadership role belittles someone or loses their cool when something isn’t going quite right.
I also like your questions about trusting someone without meeting face to face. I think that will depend on the individual, but for me, I think I need physical interaction before I can really trust someone. I have to be able to look someone in the eye (and not on a screen) so that I can really get a feeling of who they are as a person.