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Trust is in your hands…

Let me start by saying, what I am writing is contrary to the teachings people have heard in their personal and professional life.  It is something that impacts us 24/7 and is an underpinning of every facet of our lives.  It may sound like I am exaggerating, but it truly is.  What I am talking about is TRUST.   I have a different perspective.

You have heard the statement – “trust is earned”. There have been numerous books that talk about earning trust and how important trust is – How to gain trust in others and what it takes to earn your trust.  Don’t get me wrong, I believe that trust is crucial to any relationship – personal or professional.  However, I think it is sad that we are being taught to take a negative perspective as a starting point.  I have grown up with more of a positive attitude which leads me to the perspective that people are generally good and wake up in the morning, just as I do, wanting to be the best person they can be.  I truly believe that it is a small percentage of the population that is out to undermine others or do “bad” things.

From a business perspective, if we all agree that having trust in an organization is our goal and distrust in an organization negatively impacts the overall performance, why would we start with the negative side of the equation?  Distrust automatically drives a level of suspicion which in turn makes a relationship less effective.  If we start a relationship with the perspective that “trust is earned” and not habitually given, we are automatically accepting a level of ineffectiveness until actions are taken to “earn” the trust.  While many actions can be taken to speed up the level of trust in a relationship, as Stephen M. R. Covey outlined in his book “The Speed of Trust”, I am convinced that initiating a relationship with trust will minimize the time it takes to build trust even at warp speed.  If you are willing to accept anything other than assuming trust from the outset, you are willing to accept a cost to the business for at least a period of time.  While distrust may feel like a level of protection, it is more than likely destructive.

“The moment there is suspicion about a person’s motives, everything he does becomes tainted.”

Mahatma Gandhi

The negative impacts to a business can be huge from paranoia to micromanagement and the establishment of bureaucratic processes.  Additionally, when employees don’t believe there is a level of trust in their ability or intention, they will tend to be more apprehensive in taking action.

While I don’t believe that people will outwardly project this immediate distrust, it is an underlying trait that we are teaching people with the current – “trust is earned” – mantra.

There will be times when trust is broken and repair is needed.  However, it is at this time that books providing actions to be taken to build trust can be utilized to save the relationship.  My perspective is expecting trust as a base, we will be more productive overall and actually happier at the same time.

When I have shared my perspective with others, they generally ponder, but tend to agree with the premise and then begin to put it to use – for instance, why would you hire someone if you didn’t trust them?  Maybe this means it is situational and there are levels of trust that can be given immediately while other situations require more verification (trust, but verify model).  This may be true, but I‘d still rather start with the positive view on trusting others.

All I ask is that you try it and see how it changes your perspectives and effectiveness.

Building Trust with Employees

To build trust with employees:

 

  1. Start in the interview process
  2. Share the things that hurt
  3. Show them
  4. Live your values

 

  1. Start in the interview process – when you are hiring share the bad about the company as well as the good. Tell them what you have to work on and improve and why some people are not happy here. You want new employees to stay. If they make a decision with all the facts, good and bad, they are more likely to stay and they will trust you for being honest with them from the beginning.
  2. Share the things that hurt – don’t just share good news. Share bad news, like losing key employees, losing key clients, or missing numbers, and ask the teams to help with solutions. Employees know enough about what is going on to understand when you are leaving out the bad news. They will lose trust and make up their own stories which are most likely worse than the real situation. They won’t receive the benefit of your plan and leadership, if you don’t tell them the situation and how you will approach it. They will also miss out on vital training to help them handle the same kinds of challenges as managers.
  3. Show Them – Show them you trust them by letting them make decisions and own important parts of the culture and the business. Provide guidance with vision and values and let them figure out the rest. Employees trust executives that trust them. Show them respect and appreciation.
  4. Live Your Values – Don’t spout values that you don’t live on a daily basis. The quickest way to lose trust is to say you value employees or clients and then to talk badly about them or treat them badly. Trust comes from observation of actions not verbal communication. Live what you preach or don’t preach it.

 

 

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About 

My Passion is helping people become successful and happy. I have found that many people want to be successful but just don’t know how. More importantly, people want to be successful because they feel that reaching some success pinnacle will result in them becoming happy. The research and my experience has shown that just the opposite is the case. Success does not lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.

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