Wednesday, June 16, 2010

3 Keys to Building Trust

Great teams are built on the foundation of great leadership. Great leadership is built on the foundation of great trust.  (David R. Meyer, Principal – ECI Learning Systems LLC)

Have you ever worked hard for a leader that you did not trust? I’m not talking here about completing a project on time or early because the boss was yelling at you. I’m talking about when you have made a commitment to give your very best efforts day in and day out. Have you ever done that for a boss that you do not trust?

Neither have I.

I have a strong work ethic and always have. I pride myself on my ability to work hard and produce superior results regardless of who the boss is. Yet, when I look back on my career I have to admit that while I always worked hard, there were certain bosses that always got my very best, every single time. And there were other bosses who got good work from me, but honestly, not my very best. For some bosses, I just didn’t go that extra mile, or look in one more place for the perfect graphic for that presentation, or I decided that a 96% accuracy rate was good enough.

And I’m not alone. Although many people will tell you that they always give their very best, you can be sure that some small things, and even some big things, slip through the cracks when we don’t trust our boss.

What can you do to build trust in your organization? Here are 3 things that every leader should do to build trust.

1. Communicate - Too many leaders underestimate the value of communication. Or they believe that if they have said something once, that it must be enough. Just like marketers repeat the same refrain again and again to ensure that their message is heard, so must you, as a leader, communicate your vision, your goals, and your beliefs. And communicate in a variety of ways. Don’t rely on just a memo, or just a company news flash, or just a video message from the President. Instead use a variety of vehicles to communicate and reinforce your message across the organization.

2. Be Transparent - Don’t try and sugar coat the truth. Tell your employees what is really happening within the organization, good or bad. When you fail to be transparent you leave a void in the organization. And that void will likely be filled with gossip and innuendo that will be much worse than anything you might actually tell them. The old adage that “Bad news is better than no news at all” rings true in every organization. When bad things happen, be honest about it. But be equally as honest when good things happen.

3. Accept and understand differing viewpoints - Everyone does not think like you. Accept and embrace that fact. Diversity in the workplace is about more than race, gender, or political viewpoints. Every person has their own set of filters that they apply to everything around them. Instead of trying to create a wholly homogeneous environment where everyone agrees about everything, encourage an open debate of different perspectives and thoughts on a variety of issues. When people feel free to speak their minds about the issues of the company, then you will know that they have trust in you and the organization.

At ECI Learning Systems LLC, we are dedicated to helping companies get the greatest return from their most valuable asset: their employees. We work with you to align 3 key organizational factors:
• Your Company Culture
• The Leadership Styles of your key managers
• The Expectations of your Employees

When these 3 factors are aligned, you create an energy in your company that improves productivity, reduces absenteeism, increases creativity, and positively impacts your bottom line. Contact ECI Learning Systems LLC today to get your free Workplace Evaluation.

Until next time.....

Dave Meyer

ECI Learning Systems, LLC

1 comment:

  1. Dave thanks for the post. These points are spot on in terms of the traits we want to see from leaders as a foundation for building trust. Let me suggest a point of view introduced by Charles Green co-author of the book Trusted Advisor.

    In their Trust Equation self-orientation plays a significant role. How much do we trust someone who is obviously pursuing their self interest. Are they the player we want in our fox hole when the chips get down?

    We can demonstrate our self or other orientation through the behaviors you highlight today. How we communicate, How transparent are we and do we seek to understand and tolerate viewpoints different from our own.

    Thanks for the post