Every workplace consists of a web of complex relationships that cumulatively form a corporate culture. Trust is the cornerstone of any relationship and has to be earned over time. As a constant, it is difficult to achieve, but highly valuable. So, strive for high levels of trust and take conscious steps to encourage trust among your employees. According to the musician Ben Folds:
If you can’t trust, you can’t be trusted.
Ben Folds said this in a song about a romantic relationship, yet the same is true for any relationship. If one party is unwilling or unable to put forth some trust and to take a leap, the other will sense that and feel uncomfortable. In an interesting catch-22, people who are suspicious of others tend to come across as untrustworthy. Defensiveness and suspicion don’t create the type of positive atmosphere conducive to the creation of solid, comfortable, steady relationships.
In simple terms, a dog that distrusts people is more likely to bite, so it’s wiser to keep a distance. Similarly, if leaders are unwilling or unable to trust their employees, then their employees are likely to keep a distance. If your employees expect inconsistent behavior and sense that you expect them to fail, then your relationship will not develop healthily.
As a leader, one of the most powerful things you can do to build a positive corporate culture is to give your employees a chance to earn your trust. This requires vulnerability on your part. If you never give them a chance to earn your respect or admiration – then you risk remaining in a stagnant relationship loop where. Allow employees to prove themselves, to grow, and to feel the type of ownership that will inspire them to contribute and celebrate shared successes.
Here are a few trust-building tips from the MeetingPulse team. These go for leaders and employees alike. As a leader, your employees will take your actions as an example. The way your conduct yourself sends the message that ‘this is the way we do things here.’ Thus, it’s extremely important that you do things that you’d like your employees to emulate. Your role is key when it comes to creating and maintaining a consistent corporate culture.
- Be consistent. If you say you’re going to do something, do it.
- If you make a mistake, admit it.
- Be forgiving and understanding when others make mistakes.
- Encourage ownership. If someone has a task to complete, don’t micromanage.
- Be willing to trust others.
- Communicate clearly. Distrust can result from even the simplest misunderstandings.
- Be honest. Don’t cut corners just because it’s comfortable or convenient.
- Be patient. We are all learning, so give others some space to find their own pacing.
- Be compassionate. Remember that everyone has unique needs.
- Don’t make assumptions. Most assumptions are wrong, so talk about things openly.
- Give more than required or expected!
So go forth and be brave enough to trust! In the beginning, there are always unknowns, but all good starting points should start at the very least on neutral ground. Make sure that you are just as willing to trust someone as you are willing to accept that they may disappoint you in the end. If both parties follow the tips above and make space for a healthy relationship to develop, it’s much more likely that everyone will be happier in the end. And happiness is better for business!
At MeetingPulse, we believe in healthy communication and a positive corporate culture that promotes trust among leaders and employees alike. We provide easy-to-use interactive live feedback tools that support healthy corporate culture. If you want to know more about your coworkers thoughts, ideas, and preferences, try out our browser-based audience response system. We provide real-time survey and polling software for any device, so your audience will never need to download an app. Contact us for more information about our audience response system or click on ‘Keep Me Posted’ on our blog page to receive blog updates and our free ebook.