Everyone knows trust is a fundamental part of any relationship. But what does trust mean in the workplace, and more importantly, why should leaders care, and how can they build it?
Firstly, leaders should place high importance on trust because it's the secret ingredient that makes communities of all kinds work. Business communities, workplace communities, and customer relationships are no different.
By making an effort to earn people's trust, leaders can become the first choice for both consumers and prospective employees. Gartner research revealed that a staggering 83 percent of consumers say they will not do business with brands they don’t trust. And in a business environment where finding customers and employees is a constant challenge for owners and managers, it's time for leaders to rediscover the incredible power of trust.
In this post, we'll explore why trust is essential to the workplace, how to win it, and the benefits business owners and CEOs will enjoy when they have it.
Why Trust is The Secret Ingredient Every Relationship Needs
If you ask a person if they trust someone, their mind goes down a particular path. They imagine a situation where they are dependent upon that person. Would that person act in a way that serves the best interests of others when no one is looking? Only when we know someone is reliable, honest, and acts honorably on behalf of others do we deem them trustworthy.
At a time of great uncertainty with a recession looming, trust is paramount in the workplace. With persistent news of layoffs and an economic slowdown, everybody wants to know they can trust their employer to have their back. They want job security.
In fact, a new study conducted by communications company BCW found that 52% of survey participants rated job security as the most important element of their work experience.
Employers want trust too. They want to trust that every person on their team is performing to the best of their ability.
When workplace relationships lack trust, it leads to low engagement, decreased productivity, and reduced morale – resulting in a negative culture.
That's why trust is the secret ingredient to a healthy workplace. It paves the way to successful outcomes, both individually and for teams. Some examples of these positive outcomes include:
Trust creates an environment of psychological safety where individuals feel secure, accepted, and supported. When people trust each other, they are more likely to express their thoughts, ideas, and concerns without fear of judgment or negative consequences. This fosters open communication, collaboration, and innovation. Without trust in the workplace, leaders miss out on all those brilliant and innovative ideas from employees because people don't feel comfortable speaking up.
Trust forms the foundation of meaningful relationships. It enables individuals to establish connections based on mutual respect, reliability, and integrity. Trusting relationships promote cooperation, empathy, and a sense of belonging, strengthening personal and professional bonds.
Collaboration and Teamwork
Trust is essential for effective collaboration and teamwork. When team members trust one another, they are more likely to share information, delegate tasks, and rely on each other's expertise. Trust enhances cooperation, coordination, and collective problem-solving, resulting in higher productivity and better outcomes.
Risk-Taking and Innovation
Trust encourages individuals to take risks and explore new ideas. When people trust their contributions will be valued and respected, they are more willing to step out of their comfort zones, experiment, and innovate. Trust mitigates the fear of failure and creates an environment conducive to learning and growth.
Efficiency and Productivity
Trust enhances efficiency and productivity in organizations. When employees trust their managers, they are more likely to align with organizational goals, follow directives, and perform their roles effectively. Trust reduces the need for excessive monitoring and control, enabling smoother workflows and greater autonomy.
Trust facilitates constructive conflict resolution. In situations of disagreement or misunderstanding, trust allows individuals to engage in honest discussions, listen to different perspectives, and work towards mutually beneficial solutions. Trust enables the resolution of conflicts without damaging relationships or causing long-term rifts.
Reputation and Credibility
Trust is closely tied to an individual's or organization's reputation and credibility. When trust is established and maintained over time, it enhances one's reputation as a reliable and trustworthy person or entity. A strong reputation for trustworthiness can attract opportunities, partnerships, and positive interactions.
Winning the trust of others is essential for building successful personal, social, and professional connections.
How We Build Trust
For most of us, learning to trust someone takes time. It's a gradual process that requires consistent effort and the demonstration of certain behaviors and characteristics. For some of us, it can take a long time.
However, recruiters and salespeople generally don't have years to build trust with the people they want to hire or do business with. Fortunately, some tactics can be employed to speed up the process.
Effective communication is a fundamental element. Think of it as the iron in the superstructure of a building. Demonstrating reliability and consistency is another critical component. Competence and expertise are either demonstrated after the employee is hired or the sale is made or provided via testimonials from third parties.
Ultimately, accountability and responsibilities are among the best ways to build trust. By taking responsibility for our actions and admitting to mistakes when they occur, others witness our willingness to be transparent. But again, this can take time.
When any of these actions occur consistently, they build trust. While it takes time to build, trust can be eroded or completely destroyed with a single action.
Why Transparency is The Surest Path to Trust
Trust is built upon a framework of past events, though those events need not involve us directly to have the intended effect. We can learn about things that happen to others, and it will impact our trust -- or lack thereof -- in those involved.
Even so, the events that we witness ourselves are the most powerful. For humans, it is true that seeing is believing.
This is why business transparency is so important.
Business transparency refers to the extent to which a company provides accessible and comprehensive information about its operations, practices, and performance to its stakeholders, including shareholders, employees, customers, suppliers, and the public. It involves the open disclosure of relevant and accurate information that enables stakeholders to make informed decisions and judgments about the company.
Of the various management strategies leaders use to run successful companies, open book management comes the closest to providing true business transparency.
In our work with businesses of all sizes, when employees are offered a view into the business and some education to ensure that they understand the numbers they are given, it opens the door to a number of benefits.
The Effect of Transparency on Employees
The effect of transparency on a company's prospects is straightforward: increased sales. When the people a business hopes to serve actually trust that business, growth is a foregone conclusion as long as the company provides value to these potential customers.
The real impact of transparency is evidenced in the way it fosters trust among the staff. Winning the trust of employees can have numerous benefits for a business, including:
- Increased Employee Engagement
- Higher Retention Rates
- Improved Collaboration and Teamwork
- Enhanced Productivity
- Innovation and Creativity
- Open Communication and Feedback
- Positive Organizational Culture
- Customer Satisfaction
To learn more about open-book management and how transparency can help companies build stronger teams, visit our online community or contact a member of our team to get matched with a Business Coach today.
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