MANAGEMENT

Rescuing your team's trust

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Philip Yazbek, Change Management consultant at Bizmod, says that trust in our society, culture, and even in organisations is on the decline.

“Building trust is a lengthy and ongoing process and can be lost by suspicion alone. Employees no longer trust the direction laid out by their CEO and colleagues don’t trust each other enough to get the work done. When trust is lost, the length of projects can double due to the questioning of each element, directly affecting the companies bottom-line.”

Yazbek says that the ability to build trust comes from maturity. “Candidates entering the work arena believe that they know what it takes to build trust. I disagree; this comes with experience and time.” Renowned author Stephen Covey has posed the question ‘are we in a crisis of trust?’ This question is a result of research revealing that only 49% of employees trust senior management, with only 28% believing CEO’s are a credible source of information.

Trust or rather the lack thereof impacts the success of any organisation, affecting the employees output and loyalty, and therefore the overall organisational performance. Yasbek provides 5 steps that individuals can apply to their relationships to build a solid trust foundation with peers, management and clients:

  1. Be honest – Sometimes we feel the need to make the truth sound more palatable, perhaps to protect our egos or we fear others being able to deal with the truth. Remember the saying ‘honesty won’t win you a lot of friends, but it will win you the right ones.’ Colleagues or clients may not like hearing the truth, but they will appreciate it more, than discovering that the truth was distorted. 
  2. Being reliable – Be predictable and consistent in your behaviour and delivery. Simple things like be on time and be prepared.
  3. Openness – There is a fine balance in achieving openness. A rule of thumb is to disclose what is necessary but not to create ‘a storm in a teacup’. Don’t omit important information or keep secrets that are bound to come out at a later stage. 
  4. Keep confidences – If someone discloses confidential information, always keep it to yourself.
  5. Know when to walk away – If you have explored all avenues and realise that you will be unable to achieve your objectives rather make an honest, yet elegant exit. Ensure that those affected understand the reason for your exit. If you have a solid foundation of trust they will respect your honesty.

Yasbek concludes, “As complex as trust is, keep it simple, stay true to your word and follow through on your actions. Remember, trust takes time to build.”

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