Trust Issues at Work? Don’t Be an Ostrich

The difficult economic situation of the last couple of years has negatively impacted levels of trust. A recent study by Maritz research found that just 11% of employees surveyed had a strong degree of trust in their organization’s leaders. Even more alarming is that only 7% of the respondents said they had a strong degree of trust in their coworkers. It paints a picture of a “dog-eat-dog” world with everyone out to protect their own interests.

This presents a huge challenge for businesses today according to Randy Conley, Trust Practice Leader at The Ken Blanchard Companies. In the latest issue of Blanchard Ignite!, Conley explains, “Trust is at the foundation of all relationships—whether it is interpersonal or organizationally… leaders face the fallout from low trust through decreased performance and increased disciplinary issues, low morale, and increased turnover and absenteeism, just to name a few.”Conley reminds leaders that trust isn’t something that happens by itself. It is developed through the use of very specific behaviors.

“What will not work is for leaders to use the old ‘ostrich’ method by sticking their head in sand and hoping that the problem will go away or improve by itself. The behaviors that we use as leaders can either build trust or erode trust.”

Conley recommends that leaders use an ABCD model to identify specific behaviors to improve trust in their relationships.

  • A is for Ability, which is all about the leader’s expertise. Are you demonstrating that you know what you are talking about?
  • B is for Believable.  Do you demonstrate character, integrity, and values?
  • C is about Connectedness, which is the care and concern leaders demonstrate toward people.  Do you take the time to connect and build rapport with people?
  • D is about Dependability. It is about being reliable.  Can people count on you to follow through on your commitments?

Tackling trust one step at a time

“Trust is built through the use of very specific behaviors,” explains Conley. “When you say that there is a trust issue in a relationship, or in an organization, that can seem like a big, hairy monster at first. But when you break it down into the specific behaviors characterized with the ABCD model, trust becomes a much more manageable issue that can be worked on and fixed.”

To learn more about Conley’s thoughts on improving trust—including the one behavior that all leaders can address immediately—read The Leader’s Role in Building Trust

To participate in a free webinar that Conley will be conducting on June 15, click on Four Leadership Behaviors that Build or Destroy Trust.  (Over 800 people are registered for this free webinar courtesy of The Ken Blanchard Companies and Cisco WebEx.)

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