Most people do not pay attention to the issue of trust in their organization until it is broken. But by then the damage is done: people withhold facts and information, managers set convoluted goals, management is not available, people talk behind each others’ backs—the list goes on and on.
What’s the trust level in your organization?
Here’s a short quiz you can use to evaluate the level of trust currently present in your organization and to open up conversations.
1. Demonstrating Trust—If you want to create a trusting work environment, you have to begin by demonstrating trust. What are the rules, policies, and procedures in your organization saying about your trust level with your people? Sometimes, trying to protect against a few bad apples sends the wrong message to the vast majority of people in your organization who need and deserve to be trusted.
2. Sharing Information—One of the best ways to build a sense of trust in people is by sharing information. To what degree does your organization share information, including sensitive and important topics such as the competition’s activities, future business plans and strategies, financial data, industry issues or problem areas, competitor’s best practices, the way group activities contribute to organizational goals, and performance feedback?
3. Telling it Straight—Study after study has indicated that the number one quality that people want in a leader is integrity. How are your leaders doing in this important area?
4. Providing Opportunities for Everyone to Win—To what degree does your organization foster internal competition versus cooperation? When people within an organization are forced to compete against one another, you lose everyone’s trust. Now all people are concerned about is looking out for number one.
5. Providing Feedback—This is related to sharing information, but on an individual level. To what degree do your managers schedule and hold regular progress-check meetings with their direct reports? You don’t want to blind-side people by saving performance feedback until it’s time for their performance review.
6. Resolving Concerns Head On—Does your organization resolve concerns head on by putting challenges on the table and giving people an opportunity to influence the process? When leaders expand people’s involvement and influence, there is more buy-in because people are less likely to feel they are being controlled. This builds trust and increases the credibility of the leader.
7. Admitting Mistakes—An apology can be an effective way to correct a mistake and restore the trust needed for a good relationship. But in many organizations employees and managers are conditioned to hide mistakes because it’s not acceptable to make them. To what degree are your leaders able to admit mistakes when they are wrong?
8. Walking the Talk—A leader, above all, has to be a walking example of the vision and values of the organization. The key to leadership is being able to develop a trusting relationship with others. Without trust, it is impossible for an organization to function effectively. To what degree do your leaders “walk the talk?”
So how did you do? What was a strong suit for your company–and where did you feel you needed the most work? Post a comment and let’s discuss!