by Tara Powers, MS
“Trust each other again and again. When the trust level gets high enough, people transcend apparent limits, discovering new and awesome abilities for which they were previously unaware.” – David Armistead
“Trust is the denominator of efficiency.” I heard this quote from a company leader that I am working with as we discussed the impact of trust on manager-employee relationships, relationships with customers, and efficiency between teams. This quote hits the nail on the head when talking about any type of business improvement. Nothing is going to improve long-term if trust does not exist.
Everyone knows that it’s not easy to build trust, but it’s very easy to destroy it. Trust is what creates a workplace where people hold themselves accountable. Trust creates a workplace where information is shared freely and openly, silos are non-existent, and people are involved in designing their own jobs and creating systems to do their jobs to the best of their ability. Trust is about sharing information, caring about other roles, opening yourself up to constructive feedback, communicating with integrity, asking for what you need, and providing support even when it’s not your job.
So HOW do you build trust? Here are ten ideas you can put to use immediately:
- Managers act more as mentors and coaches rather then task masters.
- Share leadership on the team.
- Provide ongoing feedback on progress.
- Readjust meetings to create more openness, sharing of feedback, creative thinking and risk taking.
- Share ideas with the team or with an individual on what needs to be done and then ask for voluntary participation to make it happen.
- Encourage team members to share mistakes so that everyone can learn from it.
- Use a problem solving and decision making process that everyone can follow individually and as a group.
- Example: Gather data, analyze data, identify issues, decide on solutions, implement solutions, analyze results, start process over if necessary.
- Encourage each team member to share their personal vision for their role.
- Ask team members to serve their internal and external customers as they would like to be served. Then trust them to do the right thing.
- Have frequent discussions as a team what it would look like to appreciate one another, put others first, openly communicate, etc.
As you review this list consider if your corporate culture imposes more authority and control or operates from a high level of trust where people are free to do their jobs to the best of their ability. What would it take to begin trusting your team to do the right thing? What would need to shift to make this happen? Focus on one idea listed in this article each month to improve the level of trust on your team and expect amazing results.
Encourage your employees to take stock of what they’ve created this year. Encourage them to think about what they would like to see happen for themselves, their team, and the company next year. Ask them to ponder one small shift they might make in their life that could bring them more joy, peace and happiness. Ask them to ponder one small shift the company could make that could bring more joy, peace and happiness to your workforce.
These are important conversations that build a foundation of trust with your employees. They demonstrate a level of caring and show that you are interested in them and their aspirations. More importantly they will begin to trust that you truly have their best interest at heart.