All I Want for Christmas is ….. TRUST!
Point 7, and last, in the series My 7 Point Plan to Perfecting Business Performance
This series of the 7 Point Plan to Perfecting Business Performance has taken you on a journey towards improving productivity in the work place, by building the relationships with the people that shape your organization. We’ve looked at
Point 1 – Work Flow & Job Design
Point 2 – Preparing your Managers to Manage
Point 3 – Bridging the Us & Them Gap
Point 4 – Crystal Clear Rights & Responsibilities
Point 5 – Fairness in the Workplace
Point 6 – Giving your staff a voice
In this, the final Point 7 of the series, and a particularly poignant topic at Christmas time, we bring all of this together with some insights as to the value of building Trust in the working relationships between employees and you, the employer.
How often have we heard the phrase that a business is only as good as the people that run it. Your employees are your single most important, and probably most expensive asset. If you’re going to achieve the best from your team, then Trust has to be established and nurtured.
Bleak Mid Winter
Relationships are at the heart of life – even work life, and trust keeps relationships healthy. The one key factor that either builds on or erodes that trust is individual behaviour.
Remember the saying – there is no “I” in “team”. Where trust is lacking in a team, or manager-subordinate relationship, the consequences result in inordinate levels of energy being spent in playing politics, resisting the inappropriate behaviour traits, resisting meetings and not giving or asking for support.
This ultimately causes a breakdown in the relationship, performance suffers, and productivity goes out the window. I could continue, but before I end up sounding like an Agony Aunt, here are examples of behaviours that contribute to mistrust – that “empty stocking” feeling.
- The owner or senior management failing to keep promises
- Micro-managing and failing to delegate
- You say one thing and do another
- Failing to share critical information
- Resorting to blame and making scapegoats of your colleagues, rather than admitting to mistakes
- Excuse sarcasm, put-down humour and off-putting remarks as “good for the group”
- Refuse to consider the idea of constructive conflict, and avoid conflict at all costs
- Consistently high-jack team meetings by straying off topic
- Not following through with agreed decisions
- Acting on perception, assumption, gossip or gut feel rather than objective facts and figures.
The list goes on but I’m sure you’re starting to get the gist by now. You may be surprised at some of these being basically human traits and weaknesses, but they make the difference between people believing in you and wanting to work with you, or raising the barriers to healthy working practices.
O’ Come All Ye Faithful
High trust is built on honest human traits such as integrity and humility. These are the characteristics that will make subordinates, co-workers and colleagues gravitate towards you, and want to be part of your team. Communication, an over-used word, yet under-utilised commodity, should be easy and effortless. When trust is low, communication can be exhausting, time and energy consuming.
ACAS provide some extremely useful guidance on how to build and maintain trust. They identify three top tips for bringing a trusting environment to life
Open, Honest and Sharing
Sharing as much information with employees as soon as you can, including bad or difficult news, makes the relationship much easier. People hate being kept in the dark. Just because a topic may be difficult to say, doesn’t make it confidential. Holding those awkward and sometimes difficult conversations comes with the territory of leadership and management. Don’t avoid it.
Walk the Floor
The way leaders and managers choose to lead will influence relationships and levels of trust. Employees want to be seen and be heard, and studies prove that those leaders and managers who get out into the workplace, walk the floor, deliver regular face to face briefings all enhance employee engagement and trust. Think of the total employee respect (not to mention publicity) Richard Branson achieved by dressing up as a (female) Air Stewardess serving drinks to passengers on one of his trans Atlantic flights.
Involve and Collaborate with Employees
As I explained in my previous blog, listening to, and collaboration with, employees towards problem solving ensures the organisation finds the best way forward, as well as gaining the commitment of your people. Asking the workforce what options there are, implementing their suggestions and providing feed back on the decisions taken, are critical to establish and maintain trust – with the added bonus along the way of finding better and smarter ways of working.
We Wish You A Merry Christmas!
And don’t forget, after all the effort, hard work and probably a few bumps along the way, the best way you can demonstrate your trust and thanks to your teams is with a little thanks at Christmas. No matter how small or inexpensive, recognition and gratitude go a long way towards maintaining the relationship.
Have A Productive Profitable Year – Happy Christmas to Everyone.
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