THERE’S AN ALARMING EVAPORATION OF TRUST ACROSS INDUSTRIES, WHERE DOES YOUR TEAM STAND?
I want you to flashback to a time in your life when you were 100% sure something would work out one way, and it went the complete opposite way. You were flying full speed down the road towards a finish line, and all of a sudden you took a sharp turn and ended up on a completely new path.
The beautiful and terrifying truth about life, is that it constantly changes. Each day we are met with uncertainty in our own lives, in our jobs, and in our world. One minute you could be working your way up the ladder of success, and the next you could be laid off. One minute a company could be dominating an industry, and the next day they could be filing for bankruptcy.
When we live in a world that is constantly changing, where do we find stability? Who can we trust?
Henry Ford faced falling demand for his cars and high worker turnover, so in 1914 he did something that shocked the other barons in that industry: he doubled his employees’ wages. This seems absolutely insane from an outside perspective, but within a year, turnover dropped by a factor of more than 20 while productivity nearly doubled. Suddenly, demand for Ford cars boomed because Ford’s own workers could now afford the product they were making.
Do you know why Ford was able to pull of such a risky stunt? Because he trusted people, and his people trusted him.
When your team doesn’t have trust in your leadership or in each other, it’s more of a silent killer. If you don’t proactively value trust in your team, you are dooming your team to fail. A recent study found that 82% of employees say that being able to trust their managers is “crucial to their work performance.” Yet as important as trust is to high performance, engagement, and innovation, trust workplace levels remain low. In fact, the 2015 Edelman Trust Barometer found “an alarming evaporation of trust across all institutions, reaching the lows of the Great Recession in 2009.”
This is why it’s so important to create an environment of trust within your team. It’s the key to a healthy, winning culture that intrinsically pushes everyone to succeed.
So, here are 3 behaviors you can implement today to create a culture of trust.
Operate with an open agenda. Trust is one of the most powerful ways to build your people up, but you can’t do that if you aren’t being transparent. One thing I know about your team is if you make them feel big, they’ll do big things. Trust means being open and honest and never having a hidden agenda. When your employees feel like they know the why’s behind your decisions, they’ll run through walls for your team.
Employees in trust-based work cultures feel empowered to achieve more because they understand why their role is so important. Imagine if you didn’t know where your job status stood, or why you decided to go a different direction with a major project. Remember, when certainty is lost, all is lost. Operate with an open agenda, collaborate, and always give your people the why’s behind your decisions.
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Be consistent with your treatment of others. One thing I want you to remember about being a leader is that you’re always on stage. You constantly have a spotlight pointed at your decisions, because they’re important. Not just for your company, but for your people as well. That’s why you need to be consistent in your actions and in how you treat others. When you decide not to be consistent, you remove all certainty from your team.
All of the world’s best leaders develop trust by being consistent. Author and speaker Jim Rohn once said, “Leadership success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of being consistent.” That also means being consistent in how you treat your team.
Communicate in a clear and specific manner. One thing all of the best coaches share is communication that leaves no room for interpretation. One of the best ways to create trust is to never leave what you say up to interpretation.
The best way to be a clear communicator is to get to the beach. It’s to say what you mean as quickly as possible without being confusing or dishonest. Passive aggressive communication is vague and leaves your people confused. And aggressiveness puts your people in a place of constant distress and fear. Aggressiveness usually leans on the word “why,” which comes across like an interrogation.
No relationship can survive without trust. Have you ever seen a relationship or friendship without trust survive? Of course not. And every great leader knows that their company’s survival is dependent on their capacity to create trust.
As Stephen M. R. Covey writes in The Speed of Trust, “When trust goes down (in a relationship, on a team, in an organization, or with a partner or customer), speed goes down and cost goes up.… The inverse is equally true: When trust goes up, cost goes down, and speed goes up.”