Most of us have worked in organisations where the culture is dynamic, everyone pulling together, its infectious and fun. Challenges are thrown down and the team rises to meet and overachieve them. Clients are happy, we are happy as Leaders and our People are happy. Leaders are building trust. It is a place where you wake up wanting to go to work and contribute. Unfortunately a higher number of us have worked in organisations or teams where this is not the case. The culture is unhealthy, there is a lack of trust across the board. It can be an extremely toxic place to be.
Trust and the great workplace
A great workplace is made up of many factors. In over 30 years of research, Great Place to Work has identified that people experience a great workplace when they consistently;
- Trust the people they work for
- Have Pride in what they do; and
- Experience Camaraderie with their colleagues.
A lack of trust impacts Pride and Camaraderie negatively. Should trust in the workplace be eroded in any way then the impact can be ether an immediate dramatic crash or a slow spiral into a negative self perpetuating disaster. Either way this is not good for your people, your clients or your share holders.
It is a sad truth that trust between employees and their companies and managers is at a record low world wide. When trust in the workplace is failing, your organisation suffers.
Indeed, according to EY and their global survey of professionals in eight countries finds that less than half of global respondents have a “great deal of trust” in their current employers, bosses or colleagues.
EY interviewed 9,800 full-time workers, ages 19 to 68, in Brazil, China, Germany, India, Mexico, Japan, the UK, and the U.S. The most striking finding was that fewer than half of all surveyed professionals have a high amount of trust in their companies: Only 46% place “a great deal of trust” in their employers, and 15% report “very little” or “no trust at all.” (The rest, 39%, say they have “some trust,” which is not completely pessimistic but does want for enthusiasm.)
Results in a loss of trust are felt in several ways;
Leaders and managers spend time focusing on ‘micro management’ of poor performers
Employees close to the no trust culture get caught in a loop and start losing confidence in their own ability
Reputational damage due to employees ‘going rogue’ and bad mouthing your company to clients
All of which leads to market share loss and your ability to grow and prosper. Unless dealt with quickly and decisively a loss of organisational trust could be the beginning of the end for some smaller organisations and/or teams, larger entities are able to suffer the shocks against their culture for longer, however ultimately the bottom line gets a bashing and the loss in potential revenue and domain knowledge walking out the door can be terminal.
A solid bond between employees and their manager builds a strong culture and a positive team dynamic, your team members will be more engaged and will go the extra mile to ensure the success of the team and your organisation.
Results of High Trust level in organisations (Forbes)
- Being 106% more energetic at work
- Feeling 76% more engaged with their jobs
- Experiencing 74% less stress
- Taking 13% fewer days off for illness
- Reporting 29% more satisfaction with life in general
A high trust level leads to a more productive, positive and profitable organisation.
Laying the Foundations for Building Trust
This is not a simple ‘one size fits all’ approach. However ensuring that you build these three steps into your area of influence will go a long way to start to improve trust between you and your people.
Gallup found for example, employees whose managers hold regular meetings with them are almost three times as likely to be engaged as employees whose managers do not hold regular meetings with them.
The study found that;
- Managers who use a combination of face-to-face, phone and electronic communication are the most successful in engaging employees.
- When employees attempt to contact their manager, engaged employees report their manager returns their calls or messages within 24 hours.
- Get to know your people. The Gallup study revealed that employees who feel as though their manager is invested in them as people are more likely to be engaged. Find out what makes them tick, what they did at the weekend. Invest some time in getting to know your people and they will pay you back tenfold.
These ongoing interactions explain why engaged workers are more likely to say their manager knows what projects or tasks they are working on, which in turn helps to build trust.
Power to the People
Let your people GROW.
- Provide your people with what is expected from them a boundary that is flexible yet clearly states their targets.
- Do not micro manage. There can be nothing as frustrating for an employee when they are being checked on and second guessed.
- Autonomy to grow and learn (by their own mistakes)
- When things go wrong, back your team.
Psychology Today noted that people should not panic when receiving critical feedback or making a mistake. However, when managers or leaders micro manage it can make people second guess themselves. As a leader or manager you should think of failing as an opportunity for learning, remember that the process of “failing” is often what leads to the greatest successes. Your people need to understand this as well.
As leaders or managers, we need to give our people the confidence to fall and then help them back up again to take another step towards success. Provide the positive environment and positive reinforcement to instill trust in your people.
Deliver on your promises, key to building trust
Delivering on your promises is doing what you say you are going to do when you say you are going to do it.
Keep your promises with your people. Every time you follow through on a commitment, small or large, you build trust. And if you go above and beyond, you make an even stronger impression. So, if you say you are going to provide feedback on an employees document by tomorrow, try for today. If you say you are going to meet with the team and share your strategy within a month, lock it in within a fortnight—or sooner.
Randy Conley explores Leadership promises. What is it your people can expect from you or count on you to do no matter what? Having a set of promises that you share with your team can be challenging for some, however if you are serious on building that trust then this is a great step forward.
- What are your non-negotiables as a leader? What values, responsibilities, or priorities will you never compromise?
- In what realms of your leadership are you willing to have people call you out if you don’t deliver?
- What is your comfort level in setting public expectations that you’ll need to live up to?
- What are your core values and how do those influence the way you show up as a leader?
Randy signs off with;
What your leadership promise says is less important than actually identifying it, and once you know what it is, there is only one thing that remains—deliver on it.
Building trust takes time and commitment. It starts at the very top and your people will see through you if you are just going through the motions.Being honest with yourself is a good start in your personal development to being honest with others and building trust.