We explored how trust—or lack of trust—can deeply affect a company in our last article.  We defined what trust is and isn’t especially in a business environment.  We also asked some hard questions about whether certain business practices might be interfering with the trust being felt between you and your teams.

To determine whether something going on in your company is interfering with trust levels, ask yourself:

Is the way I am running my company (or department) earning the trust of my team or dislodging it?  In other words, are my decisions reinforcing my employees’ trust in me, OR am I doing or condoning actions that are making my people question my integrity and the integrity of this company?  You see, if you are CEO or a department head, there’s no separating you from your company when it comes to integrity.

Do I practice what I preach?  Your people will only trust you if they see that you practice what you preach to them.  If you expect them to be honest through and through in everything they do for the company, they expect that you will always do the same.  The “do as I say, not as I do” maxim will not work here because you did not hire stupid people to work for you (which reflects well on your hiring skills, but it also forces you and your top execs to toe that same mark).  Your smart employees will eventually figure out if there are unethical practices going on within your company.  If they find that you are responsible, don’t expect them to trust you or anyone else involved.

Do I keep my teams up on what is happening?  One of the best ways for a CEO to improve the level of trust with employees is to make them aware of developments as they happen.   This is a “when I know, you’ll know” approach.  When a situation comes up and answers are not immediately available, immediately let your teams know that as soon as you have answers, you will tell them.  Being entrusted with vital and timely company knowledge proves to your people that you trust them.  This causes trust levels to soar and reinforces loyalty and commitment to the company. 

Is access to me a two-way street?  Trust can only develop if there is communication going back and forth.  A trust relationship is much like being in a romantic relationship.  It can only flourish if the two parties talk and listen to each other.  Your position as CEO or top executive can be somewhat intimidating to the employees in your company’s various departments.  In order to encourage your employees to fully trust you, you need to find ways to bridge that gap.  Taking time to interact with your employees, asking their opinions and getting to know them, will go far in building the foundation for trust.

We all know that in order for a business to be truly successful, there has to be a high level of trust between employees and co-workers at every level within the company.  Most critically, that trust needs to extend to and from the top, as well.  

Have Power Tip #s 36 and 37 caused you to rethink how you relate day in and day out to your people?  Can you think of creative ways to build trust in key areas of your company?

Categories: Leadership

Romeo Effs

Romeo Effs is founder and CEO of Lumorus, a global consultancy that helps businesses and their leaders redefine their corporate governance and leadership to bring about positive, structural change. 


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