In The News
Creating A Culture of Trust
The new year is a perfect time to assess and evaluate your business approach and vision. One of the ideas I have been devoting some time to as 2016 turns to 2017 is not complex business operations or data-driven decisions, but the very simple concept of trust in the workplace.
Trust can often be glossed over in organization as a “soft virtue,” but this is a mistake. Trust is a vital ingredient of successful leadership. It empowers and elevates your team, and helps build strong relationships with clients and partners. Trust is a foundational aspect of business that can often be overlooked in this complex corporate world, where software tools and analytics often consume our attention.
But the smartest companies in the world prioritize trust. When The Great Place to Work Institute and Fortune Magazine judge their list of the “100 Best Companies to Work For,” two-thirds of the criteria is about trust within the organizations. According to their research “trust between managers and employees is the primary defining characteristics of the very best workplaces.”
A Harvard Business Review article on trust reported on a 2015 study by Interaction Associates, showing that high-trust companies are more than 2.5 times more likely to be high-performing revenue organizations than low-trust companies.
In this new year, consider taking a step back and thinking about the powerful fundamentals that can transform your business. Think about your leadership team and whether they do the simple things that make a huge difference. Trust is one of those seemingly simple things that can boost collaboration, teamwork and client retention in 2017.
As I have been reading and thinking about the value of trust at the end of this year, I have come across three themes that businesses can consider when seeking to build trust within their organization.
Open and honest communication with co-workers and clients sets a foundation for trust-building. This can take many forms — clearly defining goals and objectives, sharing the overarching vision of the company, asking for feedback from co-workers. But honesty and authenticity in this communication is a critical way to establish true trust and confidence within your company.
Follow up communication with action. This shows that your emphasis on transparent communication is not just a charade, but the opening of a real dialogue, and that you respect the opinions of the team enough to turn those ideas into reality. Follow up your listening and communication with actions that show you respect and recognize your co-workers and clients.
Accountability is an opportunity to credit your team with successes and diagnose things that are not working in a proactive way. Being accountable as a leader makes your team trust that you are holding yourself to the same standard of excellence that you envision for the organization. Take responsibility for mistakes, build confidence in your team during successes and make accountability an opportunity to set and refine goals. As you hold yourself accountable, your team will follow your example of leadership and make accountability a cornerstone of trust throughout the organization.