Every great leader knows that a culture of trust is essential to successfully build and maintain a healthy, high-performing team. Trust is a cornerstone of highly effective work relationships and a key component of organizational effectiveness. How a company treats its employees is evidence of the type of work environment to expect and an indicator of one’s anticipated customer service experience.
Trust includes shared expectations of dependability, reliability, honesty, integrity, support, loyalty, respect, and ultimately care for and among people. It is a critical element of the exchange agreement between an organization and an employee — while employees trust the organization to do the right thing, the organization must trust its employees to do the same.
There is no room for hidden agendas or a secretive environment. Trust is critical to building a solid foundation and yet is so fragile, requiring intentional, consistent nurturing by leadership. Inconsistency and unpredictable behavior can lead to the erosion of trust and fractured relationships.
Trust is also not automatically given and is often withheld until actions of leaders reflect a culture of trust with evidence as a priority focus. To ensure trust is created and sustained, leaders need to be mindful and intentional to earn and demonstrate trust at every level of the organization.
Ryan in her Forbes article Ten Ways To Build Trust On Your Team, said “You may have to step out of your own comfort zone and make these changes.”
- Talk– Frequent communication with an open dialogue needs to be part of your everyday rituals (“richuals”). Daily huddles allow your team to be updated on what’s happening in the organization and allows them to contribute.
- No Shame – Mistakes happen; embrace failure as a positive, a welcomed opportunity to learn. Use mistakes to help shape a new course of action. Innovation is often sparked by failure. Encourage risk-taking outside comfort zones to find solutions.
- Be Clear – Clarify expectations. Policies and Procedures may need to be updated and regularly shared. These policies need to be used consistently and equitably at every level of the organization.
- Be Visible – Leaders need to be available and visible to their teams. Leaders who are accessible can help team members remove barriers and overcome obstacles more quickly.
- Value People – You must demonstrate that your team members are real people with real issues that affect them in and out of work. Show empathy and demonstrate humanity when dealing with your team.
- Model Behavior – Leaders need to walk the walk and talk the talk. It is not a ‘Do what I say, not what I do’ mindset. If you want trust, you must demonstrate the behaviors of a trustworthy person.
- Own Mistakes & Be Vulnerable – No one is perfect and owning your mistakes no matter how insignificant, shows trust. Being open and honest with your team about your errors or a company error is much better than trying to cover it up.
- Adopt a Human Voice – Deal with your team personally and directly while avoiding jargon, lectures and quoting policies in lieu of actively listening and communicating in a natural yet professional way.
- Check-in – Conduct check-ins and regularly take a ‘temperature’ check with your team. Ask how they are doing and how you can make the environment more positive. Give your team a chance to be heard without judgement or retribution.
- Be Honest – Be transparent and be open to feedback. Demonstrating integrity is paramount if you want your employees to trust you.
Building trust isn’t easy and may be difficult to sustain. Be sure to reinforce your ‘trust’ culture at every level of the hiring process. Practice what you preach and communicate your key culture points to new candidates. This transparent culture will be transferred to your clients and customers.
Working with a professional and certified ActionCOACH can help you develop a solid company culture to build and keep valuable team members and ensure a healthy, high performing work environment. Yes, we can…be Better Together!
By Linda Krei