As a leader, if it seems you are constantly putting out fires and distracted from your priorities, evaluating the current level of trust amongst your team would be a worthwhile exercise. While you’re thinking about this, it may also behoove you to assess your relationships with your peers, boss and other executives. If you are having trust issues with any of them, you are probably personally experiencing some of the symptoms you are seeing with your team.
Signs of distrust include:
- Time-sucking-people-issues (conflict, gossip, complaining, drama)
- Lagging productivity
- MIA staff members (sick time, personal appointments)
- Resignation or requests to transfer of key personnel
- Missing deadlines
- Ineffective communication lines / Confusion around expectations and roles
Teams that consistently produce great results have high levels of trust. They experience less stress and more effective communication, and quickly turn problems into solutions. Teams that turn problems into solutions consistently produce great results.
Trust is the foundation for successful human interaction and business transaction. Without it, life gets stressful and distractions are plentiful. The fall-out of distrust can cripple an organization, and end a leader’s career, but high-trust teams have each other’s backs, assume the best in others, and are mission focused.
Harvard Business Review research has shown trusting workgroups compared to distrustful workgroups experience*:
- 106% more energetic at work
- 76% more engaged with their jobs
- 74% less stress
- 13% fewer days off for illness
- 40% less burnout
- 29% more satisfaction with life in general
Fortunately, with a little patience, commitment, and perseverance, trust can be built more quickly than most realize. The keys to success are authenticity and consistency, as you practice the following three tips:
- Be collaborative:Look for opportunities to ask others for help, feedback, and expertise. We naturally trust those who value our input.
- Be reliable:Do what you say you are going to do. This includes seemingly insignificant little comments like “I’ll call you this afternoon”, as much as it does executing action plans and meeting deadlines.
- Be accountable:Get absolute clarity around your role (with whatever), expectations, stakeholders, and deadlines – then own them. This takes effective communication and planning, a dose of vulnerability, sometimes broad shoulders, and no finger-pointing or blaming.
The “economy of trust” within an organization is real, and a leader’s ability to instill it up-down-sideways exponentially adds to his or her personal value. So, do you want less stress, higher productivity, and better results? Make building a foundation of trust your top priority.
*Harvard Business Review, The Neuroscience of Trust, Jan-Feb Issue, 2017