A chapter description from my new book Supercharge Your Team, due out in 2021.
In his book A Great Place To Work For All, Michael Bush describes the research he and his team conducted over 30 years, looking for companies that were reported by their employees as being great places to work. He states unequivocally:
“The final key to maximizing human potential and creating a company built for success is a foundation of trust. Trust is what we discovered to be the cornerstone of great places 30 years ago. And trust – specifically, a relationship of trust between employees and leadership – remains as important today as it was then. That’s because while business conditions have changed dramatically, people are still people. Trust is a universal requirement for positive interactions.”
Team Trust Defined By Webster
a: assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something.
b. one in which confidence is placed
Taken at face value, if your team can rely on your character, your strength, and your willingness to tell the truth, and they have confidence in you, then they will trust you.
But are those qualities reflected in your day to day behavior as a manager? For example, if one of your team makes a costly mistake, your approach to correcting the situation will determine whether your team will rely on your character, your strength, and your willingness to tell the truth. If they perceive that your response was less than admirable, or that you did not treat the employee fairly, or that you caved to political pressures in your response, their trust in you will probably decline.
This is all assuming that your intentions are honorable. If they have confidence that you will do the wrong thing, there will be no trust. Like the story of the frog and the scorpion. The frog should have had confidence that the scorpion would do him wrong because it is in the scorpion’s nature to do so. So, I would modify Webster’s definition to read:
a: assured reliance on the good character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something.
b. one in which confidence to do the right thing is placed
Strength is also a major component here. There may be political pressure on you to not tell employees the truth about why a management decision was made. And sometimes such confidentiality is necessary. But when the employees ask why, do you just slough it off or do you have the strength to explain that you can’t tell them and why.
Truth Builds Team Trust
Telling the truth can be challenging when it causes discomfort, embarrassment or negative consequences. For frontline leaders to be truthful, it sometimes requires that they give bad news to their team or honestly report outcomes and details to their own managers.
The bottom line, building trust with your team improves team performance and creates loyalty to you and the organization. Check out this article on that phenomenon at Market Basket Food Stores.
In this chapter, we will look at various ways frontline leaders can overcome the barriers to demonstrating good character, ability, strength and honesty while gaining the confidence of their teams.