Trust—A firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.
What is the trust level within your organization?
Can you rank it on the scale of 1 – 10 (10 is an extremely high level of trust)?
I recently met with a wonderful person and was talking to him about an upcoming workshop I am creating. I asked him about his job, and he indicated that he had been in his position for well over six years. Another colleague had been there almost seven years, and another over twenty. Overall, everyone in his organization had been there and average of over ten years.
In his tenure, the organization had solved some prickly issues that had hounded his stakeholders for years. You could tell he felt great about that.
Not only that, but when he talked about his team, he just glowed. He had a grin on his face, and spoke with pride about the fact that they feel comfortable talking over problems and issues openly with each other.
Do your people talk that way about your business or team?
Clearly, his leader had instilled a culture of trust and respect that has kept him there, working on tough problems, for years.
How can you make this happen for you and your team?
- Change how you view conflict. Not agreeing with everyone is human. People just see things differently. No big deal. In fact, different perspectives are desirable, because it comes from diverse points of view. It doesn’t have to be personal if the people involved don’t make it that way. Some leaders encourage diverse points of view, and your people will offer them if they feel confident it isn’t going to cause a huge argument.
- Stay open to new ideas. Sometimes leaders are under the impression that since they are in charge, they need to come up with all the ideas. Not so. You hired smart people. They want to help you succeed. Let them.
- You have to have integrity. You need to have all the basics to instill trust—be honest, straightforward, caring, compassionate. And consistent.
- Care about your people. As people. Get to know them and like them. Have fun with them. Ask about their kids and their vacations. Ask how you can help them succeed.
- Share information. Hoarding information only keeps your team from helping you. And it leaves them shaky and vulnerable. When leaders do that, people learn not to trust them.
People want to work in a culture of trust and to feel secure that they are doing their best work. If that isn’t the case in your organization, consider the possibility that it isn’t the people—perhaps it is the culture that exists. Perhaps…just perhaps…if you change the culture in a positive way, your trust level will go up. When that happens, so will your productivity.