Today In an age of economic uncertainty and change, leaders are seeking ways to be more agile and innovative. Yet in doing so, they often overlook one time-honored component of success—employee trust. That can be a costly mistake in terms of time, money and reputation, experts warn.
Moreover, if employees don’t trust their leaders, they won’t operate efficiently. Staff members will be reluctant to make decisions, seeking approval for every little thing. They won’t be willing to go the extra mile if they’re unsure whether others will back them up. They’ll fear sharing bad news, so problems will grow instead of being promptly addressed. They’ll be less likely to offer ideas for new products or processes if they believe leaders won’t support them or will take credit for their ideas.
Can I believe you will do what you say you will do? Will you tell me the truth? Will you follow through on promises?“ My kids know if I say I promise something I will make sure it happens or have a very good reason why it won’t happen and that is usually caused by something out of my control.
If you don’t make good on what you say why should Ii exert myself or even take risks?
On the flip side there are great benefits to trustworthy ethical leaders; including greater employee engagement, innovation and productivity,
Numerous studies from the “Great Place To Work Institute” and elsewhere have found that companies with high-trust cultures have greater financial success than those that don’t.
In fact, “a lack of trust is the biggest expense in organizations,” says David Horsager, chief executive officer of True Leadership Institutes Edge in St. Paul, Minn. Every problem that leaders think they have—whether it’s a leadership issue, a sales issue, an engagement issue or some other issue—boils down to trust, he contends.
What Is Trust?
Of 1,202 U.S. working-age adults surveyed last fall, 23 percent said they would offer more ideas and solutions, and 21 percent reported they would be willing to work longer hours, if they trusted their leaders, according to the institute’s 2018 Trust Outlook. One-third indicated that they would stay longer with an employer if its leaders kept their promises, and 28 percent said they would extend their tenure if transparency was practiced at all levels. How does this impact performance and revenue?
Unfortunately, trust frequently suffers when corporate executives get caught up in playing the short-term game, focused solely on revenues or pleasing the CEO rather than long-term values and commitments, experts say.
Some common mistakes that destroy trust include:
• Avoiding conflict. When you discourage disagreement, open discussions can’t occur. Decisions don’t get made, or they are based on incomplete information. Conflict is merely differing opinions and if allowed to discuss it in a safe place, can lead to collaboration and growth.
• Breaking promises. When you tell your employees that you’re going to do something but don’t follow through, trust is lost. Why should employees believe you the next time? Think Charley Brown and the football
• Failing to communicate. You might be reluctant to share bad news, but it’s always better to tell the truth than to be silent. Employees appreciate honesty. This is huge. Every aspect of a business is improved with good honest and frequent communication
• Assuming trust. A trusting relationship doesn’t happen on its own. You have to explicitly think about trust, work on trust, build trust and check to be sure that trust is there,
Here are some key traits for building and showing trust
• Clarity. People trust the clear, and they distrust the ambiguous. Give employees a clear vision of where you want to go and what role they will play, and don’t keep changing it unless it is absolutely necessary and tell them why you need to do it.
• Compassion. Leaders who care for others more than just themselves inspire trust. Note this is not at the expense of themselves but taking into consideration the needs of others.
• Character. This means choosing to do what’s right rather than what’s easy.
• Competency. Stay abreast of what is happening, trends. Be a continuous learner.
• Commitment. Stick with your employees in the face of adversity, and they’ll do the same for you. Show them you have their back.
• Connection. Create relationships with the people who work with you . Get to know them. Read The Dream Manager for ideas
• Contribution. In other words, produce results.
• Consistency. What we do all the time shapes what others expect of us. “If you’re late all the time, I will trust you to be late,” Horsager says. “It’s the sameness in a person that builds a reputation. It’s the sameness in a company that builds a brand.”
To build a culture of trust, lead by example, You’ve got to be the trust that you want to see in the organization. A former colleague in an IT company had a core staff that followed him whenever he shifted departments or companies, for two reasons; he always had their back and would never ask them to do anything he wouldn’t do. That is trust! Do you do that?
If you have breached trust how did you fix it?
If there is trust, people can be their authentic self, always
What does it mean to be able to voice an opinion or idea, even if you’re the only person in the room who thinks it might have value?
What are you doing to assure trust in your workplace? with family? with friends? with your community?