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Trust IS the Glue (part 2)

Trust is the Glue, part 2

According to research by Richard Boyatzis, Professor at Case Western University in the US, trust is one of 5 characteristics of an emotionally inspired leader.

Building Trust

Trust is an emotion you inspire in others and it’s essential for a thriving workplace. You can’t demand trust. It just doesn’t work that way.

In a WEConnect International webinar, facilitated by Evoloshen, a TRUST acronym was shared which resonated with me in answer to the question: How do you build trust?

T= Transparency

R= Relationships

U= Understanding

S= Shared Success

T= Truth-telling

Trust also goes hand in hand with traits such as credibility, reliability, openness, confidence, and a focus on best results for your employees and the organization (not for yourself).

When your employees trust you, they will invest time and energy that they wouldn’t be willing to do with a leader they don’t trust. They will dare to take risks, which they otherwise wouldn’t. There is a willingness to ‘go the extra mile’, even when they don’t know what’s around the corner. Trust in your people to do the right thing, and they most likely will.

Remember that trust is fragile. Even so, it doesn’t need to break. Take the time with your team to define what trustworthiness means. You may be surprised that not everyone has the same definition. Create a definition that resonates with everyone. Discuss which behaviors lead to a lack of trust and which lead to a trusting relationship. Calculate the costs for your team and the company, when low trust exists.

In his 2006 book ‘The Speed of Trust’, Stephen M. Covey came up with an equation defining the economics of trust:

 “Economists care about trust because it is closely connected to economic activity. Its absence leads to lower wages, profits, and employment, while its presence facilitates trade and encourages activity that adds economic value.” https://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/trust-project/videos/matouschek-ep-1.aspx

Without trust as the glue, collaboration and innovation are almost impossible to achieve. If you don’t have trust in your people, or they don’t trust you, they will only do the minimum it takes. They will do what they’re told. Nothing more.

Trust IS the Glue

My work this past decade has focused on supporting employees in developing healthy strategies to weather the adverse situations which come onto all of our paths. I’ve come to realize what the title of this article says: Trust IS the Glue!

We all know that change is happening at an incredible pace, all around us. Organizational experts inundate us with their research. In order to survive and especially thrive, we (our organizations and the people who work in them, a.k.a. ‘organisms’) need to be adaptable to this change. Change mindsets, open mindsets, growth mindsets are terms bandied about and rightly so: without the ability to adapt to change, we’re going to become irrelevant.

For me, what’s missing in all this dialogue are the essential ingredients needed to ensure this can take place. It’s my opinion that without trust, and without its sister qualities of connection, curiosity and courage, the vulnerability needed to build it is going to be hard to find.

What comprises trust? How do you define trust? You need to know this for yourself in order to know if it exists. How do you know when your work environment is trustworthy? What feelings does a trusting workplace instill in yourself? What behaviors do you exhibit which make you trustworthy?

On the flip side, what happens within organizations when trust is low? What are the costs? To my mind, lack of engagement, productivity, and creativity are just a few of the side effects. Add a toxic environment into the equation and watch your organizational resources dwindle, not least your people.

There is so much to win in building a trustworthy culture, especially with the competition for talent in today’s market. My challenge to all of you who lead others is to give this topic your attention. Today, not tomorrow!