[Guest Post: Antonio Ferraro] – The term trust can be somewhat elusive; however, many people define trust as a strong belief in truth, reliability, and faith in someone or something. While some people tend to throw “trust” around loosely by confiding and relying upon just about anyone, others may be more guarded with it and use it very sparingly and reserve true trust only for close family and friends. However, when it comes to trust it really depends upon how people view and comprehend the value of trust.
Leadership and Trust
Being a leader is an important job; employees often seek out leaders for guidance, knowledge and advice and rightfully so as a leaders job often involves “leading” people. In many situations employees do trust leaders within the work environment and believe that the leaders will intentionally act for the good of the company and its employees. The trust is almost innate such as how a child trusts his or her teacher at school. The leader, like a teacher is viewed as a person of distinction that is there to help. However, it isn’t always the case when described the other way around. Statistics have shown that even though leaders themselves may be trusted by staff, leaders often have a difficult time trusting their own staff. Why is this? Could it be due to a lack of training, reliability, or college education? Honestly, it could be a number of different things. However, without trust the relationship between the leader and his or her staff is pretty one-sided and can really affect the success of the business’s objectives and overall cohesiveness. Most organizations strive to create a safe, innovative, and trusting environment for employees so they can be as productive as possible. Happy and satisfied employees tend to work harder and take more pride in their work versus unhappy employees.
Building trust between Business Leaders and Employees
While it is important to remember that trust isn’t something that can be built overnight, trust is an attainable goal when all parties are committed. One important component of building trust is compassion. Caring about other people and their feelings is a genuine way to show compassion. For example, if an employee has been working extra hours lately a leader should take notice of it and praise the employee for dedication and diligence towards resolving an issue or just simply helping out. This will build a positive rapport on both sides of the situation as the employee shows commitment and the leader shows appreciation. Another component of building trust in the workplace involves clarity. Clarity means to be clear and concise about missions, objectives, and priorities. It is human nature to distrust the ambiguous so in order to keep building upon the trust between both parties clarity must be present. Furthermore, consistency is also a big factor when it comes to trust. A leader should be consistent with his or her plans and guidance; in fact it is often the little things that make the biggest impact. Employees should not come into work each day worrying about what dramatic changes will happen next, there should be some level of consistency so the work environment is stable and less stressful. Even though we are just scratching the surface upon building trust between employees and leaders, it is important to take note of these important key factors that have a big influence in the success of trust.
Genuine trust between employees and business leaders can help take a business from the bottom to the top if sincere efforts are put in by all parties. Trust is similar to a garden; it takes time to grow, it must be nourished and cared for, and will then it will sprout delicious produce or beautiful flowers. However, if the garden is neglected it will become dry and barren and essentially be unsuccessful. Put in the effort to build meaningful trust and it will not be overlooked.
Author BIO – Antonio Ferraro – On behalf of Creative Safety Supply based in Portland, OR (www.creativesafetysupply.com). I strive to provide helpful information to create safer and more efficient industrial work environments. My knowledge base focuses primarily on practices such as 5S, Six Sigma, Kaizen, and the Lean mindset. I believe in being proactive and that for positive change to happen, we must be willing to be transparent and actively seek out areas in need of improvement. An organized, safe, and well-planned work space leads to increased productivity, quality products and happier employees.