Did you know working in a culture of trust could be the most important element in creating teams that consistently achieve great results? At some point in your career, you’ve likely felt the pain of working in an environment of distrust: Silos; conflict; fear of speaking up; mistakes; re-work; turnover; lost opportunities…
Establishing a culture of trust takes commitment and courage – it will involve change, and even the best changes bring challenges. However, the rewards are many. For example, it fosters open and timely communication up, down, and sideways; the ability to communicate well promotes mission-focused collaboration across department lines. Cross-functional collaboration promotes next-level creativity, problem solving, and not just solid decisions, but the ability to make the best decisions.
A Harvard Business Review research article on The Neuroscience of Trust determined working in a culture rooted in trust:
Reduce stress by 74%
Increase team engagement 76%.
Experience 13% fewer sick days
Enjoy 29% more satisfaction with life in general
Promotes 106% more energetic workforce
I find those numbers compelling. I’ve also witnessed first-hand how quickly they become reality when leaders commit to, model, and expect the behaviors that support a culture of trust.
This week, what if we all invest more time in building trust? Trust in us as individuals and in those we lead. As we begin the last month of 2020, I encourage you to set aside some time for yourself first, and then with your team, to assess how you are doing in three critical areas:
1) Collaboration: How often do you seek opportunities to be inclusive up, down, and sideways? Are you seeking cross-functional and frontline input on new ideas and processes? Are you regularly asking for (and learning from) feedback from your team, peers, and leaders? Collaboration models value of others’ opinions and expertise. It fosters teamwork, and it reduces mistakes.
2) Reliability: When you say you will do something do you follow through? How often are you on time? With the big stuff and the little things? Before you casually say “I’ll call you back” or commit to a task, think. By when? Set an accurate expectation and then follow-through. Doing what you say you will do builds trust. Failing to do so tears it down.
3) Accountability: How clear are you on what others are expecting of you right now? What about your expectations of them? Are you demonstrating ownership for results? Do you see the connection between your role and organizational success? Lack of accountability is one of the most common complaints of my clients, and one of the quickest derailers of trust and results.
Use the above to create an informal assessment, and set a benchmark of where you are right now with collaboration, reliability, and accountability. Create a scorecard for you and your team, and set your intention to improve your scores in all three elements. Establish two or three individual and team commitments you can start right away, and decide how you will measure improvement.
Being known as collaborative, reliable, and accountable raises your level of trustworthiness. It also pays dividends for you and your team. So, again, what if this week we invest more time in building a culture of trust? I can’t think of a downside, can you?