Trust me ……
Most people have a hard time believing these two words when it relates to our jobs or our personal lives. Many people instinctively recoil from these words, especially when uttered by business leaders, colleagues, clients and most of all our politicians.
Has it always been this way throughout time? Why should we trust?
Trust is a necessary factor in successful leadership. Leaders need trust in order to achieve the business results they desire. Yet trust in business appears to be eroding. I hear about it almost every day as among one of the key reasons that people want to explore new job opportunities.
How do we establish the absolutely critical commodity of trust?
- Past Behavior: If someone has behaved as expected in the past, we trust this person to behave that way in the future. In this scenario past performance may very well predict future actions.
- Competence: We trust people based on our perception of their competence or capability, so we trust our doctor to treat our illness because of his/her training.
- Alliance: If you and I are trying to accomplish a common goal, I’ll trust you to do your part. Our service men and women trust each other with their lives, because they are pursuing a shared goal.
Trust is something that we build over time. However there are important steps that leaders can take right now to foster a more trusting climate to accomplish enhanced business results.
- Involve your people in decisions that directly affect them. Treating people as capable equals shows that you trust them to be part of making good decisions. They’ll trust you more in return. When people are involved in a decision, they are more likely to support the decision. This means enlisting people before you’ve made the decision. Offer trust, first.
- Be consistent in your actions. Perhaps we are hard wired to focus on outcomes and ignore the process. Understanding how a decision was made and the thought process behind that decision, can have a huge impact on how people feel about the decision. For example, employees who understood how their performance bonus was determined are more satisfied than employees who received more money, but didn’t know how the bonus had been determined. Being transparent and consistent, people see a leader’s motives and learn to rely on them.
- Pay close attention to relationships. In my experience, people join companies but leave managers. The connection between employees and managers makes a huge difference in the degree of involvement and engagement that people will feel. If employees know that what matters to them- matters to you, they’ll trust you to act in ways that align with their interests.
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Bernie Reifkind is the CEO and founder of Premier Search, Inc. a nationwide executive search and placement firm. In addition, Bernie provides career guidance and strategic interviewing techniques to professionals at all levels.