Ellen Warden, SPHR
WorkPlace Synergy, LLC
Trust is the foundation upon which all relationships and interactions are built. Touchy-feely? Not at all!
A customer or an employee who feels respected and believes they are treated fairly will not only trust you, but your firm as well. “Trust is not merely a social virtue,” says Stephen R. Covey. “It’s also an economic driver. If people trust you, things take less time and become more efficient. Trust is therefore a performance multiplier.”
In the last Business of Valuation e-newsletter, we offered warning signs that trust may be an issue in your organization or for you, personally. Can you build trust when it doesn’t exist?
Here are 20 actions you can take to create, promote and demonstrate trust in your firm:
Have a clear, strong unifying mission and vision. Create personal visions to reach the firm’s overall goals.
Create an enabling environment rather than negative discontent. Do not talk about absent employees, nor allow others to place blame, call names, or point fingers.
Show respect. Respectful leaders create a climate of trust by looking out for the best interests of others. Creating opportunities for your staff members to learn, grow or be promoted indicates, “I respect your ability and want you to succeed.”
Share yourself honestly with open communications. Have two-way communication that is frequent, varied and effective – formal and informal.
Share information regularly. Sharing real data can build trust. Provide as much timely information as you can comfortably divulge in any situation.
Keep employees truthfully informed. Don’t lie about bad news. If you can’t answer a question, say “Honestly I don’t know” or “I hope not” or “I’ll let you know as soon as I can”…. Then get the answer and get back to them.
Ask for feedback – be clear that respectful feedback is welcome even if you don’t agree. Listen and consider others’ ideas with an open mind. “I can’t guarantee I’ll agree with you but it’s important I know what you think. “
Make performance count. Recognize good performance and confront hard issues in a timely fashion.
Be as transparent as possible about the decision-making process – especially when implementing a decision or program that will be unpopular. Involve your team in the process.
Listen with respect and full attention. People trust others whom they believe understand them. Use your best active listening skills by confirming your understanding of the conversation and the information presented. Exhibit empathy and sensitivity to the needs of your staff.
Be accessible. When managers are available for their staff and customers, relationships are personalized. Strong and stable organizations have leaders who are approachable and caring. That message is indicated through the manager’s actions as well as their word.
Be fair and consistent. People like to work with managers who are predictable and dependable. Individuals who vacillate, easily change their viewpoint, or refuse to make a decision because it may upset some people, are viewed as wishy-washy. Because their actions and decisions are unpredictable, they are viewed as untrustworthy.
Display competence in your role as leader and other work tasks. Know what you are talking about, and if you don’t know—admit it. Then find out the answer.
Set high expectations and act as if you believe staff members are capable of living up to them. Set measurable goals that can be evaluated by others.
Deliver results. Expect to win and take responsibility for the results. Communicate expectations clearly and show confidence that they can be reached.
Keep your commitments and promises. If there is any doubt that you will be unable to complete a commitment or promise, then do not give your word. Whenever you don’t meet a commitment be up front about it.
Hold yourself and others accountable. Set the example by being responsible. When people do not take responsibility for their actions, others are never sure if they will receive an open, honest answer.
Avoid excuses and blaming. If you made a mistake, be honest and own up to it. Even if you personally did not make the mistake, avoid blaming another department or employee. Excuses and blame diminish your personal credibility and that of your organization.
Cooperate and look for ways to help. Rather than avoiding a challenging situation, confront it head on with a willingness to develop alternative solutions. Your cooperation during uncomfortable situations indicates your willingness to help even in the most difficult of times. It establishes that you will not run from difficulties and can be trusted to stay with a challenge until it is resolved.
Don’t demand trust (“I’m the boss. You have to trust me.”) Just keep working to earn it.