Part 2 of a 5-part Leadership Series.
At Integrated Success, our primary focus is helping leaders create thriving workplaces. This series shows how you can incorporate leadership elements that inspire commitment and excellence among your employees.
Trust. For such a small word, it carries a lot of weight. Think of any strong, fulfilling relationship you’ve ever had… I bet trust was at the heart of it. You could count on that person to have your back—and to not throw you under a passing bus. You could trust that person to have your best interest in mind, with no hidden agenda. You knew they would be honest with you, even when the message was tough.
Within the safety zone that trust provides, you feel more confident about expressing your authentic attributes and ideas. Trust in the workplace enables people to be their best selves there, too.
Unfortunately, suspicion and anxiety are pretty common at work. The Harvard Business Review described a global survey showing how widespread the problem is:
- Less than half of workers place “a great deal of trust” in their leaders.
- 15% of people have very little or no trust in their employers.
It often comes down to a lack of trust.
According to those statistics, there are a heck of a lot of people out there suffering a lack of trust at work. Some signs of distrust include:
- Blaming and complaining are commonplace, with little or no personal accountability or ownership.
- There’s little collaboration to solve problems – people “stay in their own lane” or even withhold information.
- Innovation and thoughtful risk taking are low – new ideas are stifled.
- Office politics are brutal; people are watchful for back-stabbers; they try to fly under the radar.
- Turn-over is high, and the best performers don’t stay long.
Why does trust matter?
Employees report that trust is one of the most important qualities they need at work. According to neuroscience studies reported on in 2017, people at high-trust companies experience much more positive outcomes, such as they:
- Are 50% more productive
- Experience 40% less burnout
- Are significantly more likely to stay with their current employer
Behind these statistics are a number of profound benefits that a culture of trust brings to your workplace.
Trust fosters collaboration.
Feeling trusted frees people to be more open and innovative. They share ideas and opinions, and work together to improve outcomes.
Trust improves speed and efficiency.
People come to know each other’s strengths, and they don’t have to start from zero every time.
Trust deepens employee engagement.
When people feel secure, they will be more productive and give a solid performance at work over a longer period of time.
Trust enables leaders to drive change.
Set a positive model as a leader and people become more receptive to feedback, and more motivated to make needed adjustments.
5 ways you can cultivate trust.
There’s lots of advice out there about ways leaders can build trust, but in my experience it all boils down to these 5 key things:
1. Give trust first. You have to show up in good faith, expecting the best of others while holding them accountable. Trust is built up bit by bit, over time. As the leader, you have to be the one to put trust on the table first. People will reciprocate! That’s how trust works.
2. Be trust-worthy. Do what you say and say what you mean. The bar is set with you. How do you demonstrate your trustworthiness?
3. Communicate effectively and be transparent. Listen to understand; engage in real conversations; share information frequently, in lots of different channels; give clear feedback about performance; don’t leave people guessing.
4. Lead by example. Be self-aware and understand your impact on others; model what you want to see in others, like integrity and collaboration. Admit your mistakes and show how to do better; be open to feedback.
5. Be committed to the growth of others. Rather than being self-focused, commit to bringing out the best in others and finding ways they can shine using their talents and skills. Support their personal and professional goals. Celebrate successes!
These five elements are critical to building trust, but exactly how you do them effectively depends on your unique strengths and personal leadership style. And this is where we can help you shine using your own super powers!
Build on your strengths.
Authenticity is the foundation of trust, so before all else, your actions as a leader have to be consistent with who you are at your best. As the founder of Integrated Success, my passion is helping leaders like you create a vibrant, inclusive and engaged workplace – where employees can be “all in”. One where you, your employees and your organization are all successful. This is where you authentically cultivate the four most important qualities employees need at work: trust, hope, compassion and stability.
I will share more about these qualities in the coming weeks, and you can always contact us for more information.
Yours in success,
Linda is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Integrated Success HR Consulting & Coaching, She is a Gallup-certified Strengths Coach and a leader in strengths-focused development. Integrated Success works with organizations in developing effective teams and human resources practices to bring out the best of individuals for their own success and that of the organization. That’s why we say Integrated Success is the engine behind individuals and organizations thriving.