June 26, 2017 • 4 minute read • by Saeed
“Trust is like an eraser, it gets smaller and smaller with every mistake.” ~ Unknown
In relationships, trust is the fundamental building block from which everything else is built. Full stop.
A new study from the Ken Blanchard Companies examining the connection between trustworthy leadership behavior and productive employees demonstrates significant correlation between trust and numerous positive employee behaviors including performance, loyalty and productivity. Duh!
But how do you build trust?
That’s simple but not necessarily easy. Trust is built over time and by people sharing and being increasingly vulnerable with each other.
Think your staff meetings are enough? Think again.
You have to spend unstructured time together getting to know each other outside of work.
When I lived in the UK, I noticed that co-workers went out for drinks with each other after work on a regular basis. The pub culture helped. Nevertheless, discussing what is important in your life, who your family is, and what is going on in your life outside of work is an essential part of relationship building and trust.
When you add a new team member, you have to work to foster trust. When someone leaves, you have to start this process over again.
Your team will never reach their potential, individually or as a group, unless you are willing to be equally vulnerable with each other. High performing teams need this level of, let’s call it intimacy.
Only when a high level of trust is created among team members is there a chance to reach your goals as a collective. Otherwise, it’s every man or woman for him or her self.
Fairness, honesty, recognition, openness, transparency, and effective communication are the hallmarks of a trusting work environment.
Trust or the lack of it has major motivating implications. Trust is a lubricant for loyalty. People want to perform their best for those they trust. People begin to believe in themselves if they are recognized and trusted for their efforts in an organization.
On the other hand, when trust is broken, it’s extremely hard to repair. That’s when your once star performer starts spending more energy on self preservation and job hunting than excelling in their role. That’s when ideas dry up. That’s when innovation stagnates and that’s when communication mostly becomes one way.
Take care of your employees. Stop treating them like expendable commodities. Stop making everything about what they can do for you. They are not just idea and execution machines. Take the time upfront to develop trusted relationships. If you show them you care about them – their lives, their thoughts, their values – your business performance will only increase.
Recognize their efforts. Most importantly, recognize their extra efforts. Recognition increases trust between leadership and employees.
There is a high cost to low trust. An organization with high levels of trust will withstand any crisis. Conversely, an organization with low levels of trust can come apart at the smallest sign of trouble.
Effective leadership moves organizations from current to future states. The bedrock of effective leadership is trust.
What are your thoughts on how to protect trust among team members? Tell me about it in the comments!
©2017 – All Content by Saeed H. Mirfattah, M.A.
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