Some executives give lip service to the importance of trust but fail to see a direct connection between their own behavior and the amount of trust people have in their organization. The impact of corporate executives' inability to build trust goes far beyond their immediate
But not trusting the numbers really means not trusting the people behind the numbers. This
A direct correlation exists between how employees view their company and how customers and stockholders view it. Once leaders have lost the confidence of employees, that negative energy has a measurable impact on the messages employees—and
is a broad
Building trust has two
Staying committed to agreements
Possessing the required skills
Achieving consistent output
Collaborating on projects
The relationship component of trust is about believing that others want a safe and supportive relationship with you. When we don't believe someone will be candid with us or show compassion toward us, this apprehension reveals a weakness in the relationship component. The five elements of trust for the relationship component are
Staying committed to the partnership
Showing the ability to be candid
Being willing to communicate
Demonstrating personal credibility and integrity
Understanding these components of trust will help you create a foundation for discussing what trust means to your organization.
Defining trust is always the first step. Once you've defined what trust means to your organization, you can go about establishing a first line of defense against mistrust. First, identify specific behaviors that either support or diminish trust in the company. For example, for the task component of trust you might determine that completing projects on time is a trust-building behavior. While this seems obvious, many people do not make the connection that delivering projects late destroys trust among people. In fact, in some businesses, project deadlines are falsely inflated to compensate for late deliverables. This practice is not only costly, but can also hurt your business's reputation.
For the relationship component of trust, you might find that candid communication is
You can measure trust just like you measure product quality or customer service excellence. Remember the old saying: People do what they are measured to do. It's true! If you don't measure trust, you risk sending the message that trust is not important to you. Trust is simple to measure—just ask. An anonymous survey will reveal whether trust is being built or eroded in your organization. Communicate the survey results to your organization and track trust regularly. When you see the amount of trust backsliding, ask why. Also check yourself to make sure you really want to hear the truth. Such an occasion might be a good time to review your self-disclosure and feedback skills.
A trust indicator can let you know in advance if something is weakening trust in your business. The sooner you know, the quicker you can address it. This tracking of trust is a small investment in maintaining
The collapse of Enron and other companies has been having ripple effects throughout corporations across the country. In companies large and small, employees have begun to harbor serious doubts about the integrity of their leaders and about whether their own financial future is protected. If these
Communication will shut down.
When employees feel betrayed, they stop talking to their managers. This clamming up can have a negative effect on an organization, because when employees stop giving their feedback, ideas stop
You can head off such problems—or repair these problems if they already exist—by talking about trust with your employees. Unfortunately, most organizations don't discuss trust issues, or if they do, it's usually about what the employees should do to ensure the company's trust. What companies frequently fail to understand is that trust is a two-way conversation. Yes, you must have trust in your employees, but it's also true that your employees must have trust in you.
People tend to approach trust from one of three perspectives. Some people give trust
Exercise 2 is designed to help you and your team better understand the team's various perspectives on the ability to trust. After you and your team members have completed the first part of the exercise, take time to facilitate a discussion of trust among the team. Who gives trust freely? Who withholds trust? Who prefers to wait and see? Does one style
EXERCISE 2: Team Trust Exercise
Distribute the following statements to your team and schedule a meeting to share your responses. The desired outcome of this exercise is a shared understanding of what trust looks like to each of you.
My ability to trust is (circle one) High Medium Low
My beliefs about giving trust are ___________________
My beliefs about people are ______________________
I trust people when _________________________
What my partner has to know about my ability to trust is __________________________________________________________________________
Have each member take a
After everyone has responded to the first statement, debrief the
Repeat this process until you have responded to all five statements. This exercise will prepare you for any situation that involves trust with this team in the future.
Here, in brief, are four smart partnering steps that can help you to establish trust within your organization:
Acknowledge that trust is important to your company. You—and other company leaders—must be comfortable talking about the issue. You must be able to say to your employees, "It's just as important for you to trust us as it is for us to trust you."
Gather feedback about trust from your employees. Ask your employees to tell you what a trusting work environment looks like to them. Then ask them for ideas on how to build trust in their workplace.
Let your employees know what you're doing with their feedback.
Tell them what specific trust-building actions you have decided to take. You can communicate this information in a variety of ways—through an employee newsletter or e-mail, for example, or a
Make trust a measurable component of success. You need to know whether the steps you take are actually building trust within your organization. Measuring trust is not as difficult as you might think. You can do it with periodic questionnaires, for example. The key is to keep the conversation going. Address your employees' trust concerns honestly and openly, and listen to their ideas. Remember: You are in a partnership with your employees. Your goal is for them to have as much trust in you as you have in them.
The Power of Feedback: 35 Principles for Turning Feedback from Others into Personal and Professional Change
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable (J-B Lencioni Series)
Team Players and Teamwork, Completely Updated and Revised: New Strategies for Developing Successful Collaboration
The Partnering Intelligence Fieldbook: Tools and Techniques for Building Strong Alliances for Your Business