Does your team trust you? I’m not talking about the type of trust where if they don’t, lives will be lost (i.e. pathfinding over treacherous terrain). I’m asking do they trust you in the day-to-day decisions you make as a manager?
- Exceptions they witness you make for a customer, but then see no exceptions for other customers
- How you handle scheduling requests from the team
- How you model your work ethic
- How you represent your team among your colleagues and supervisors
Make no mistake here – your team is watching your actions and hearing your words.
Stephen M.R. Covey in his book, “The Speed of Trust”, explains how trust can improve or the lack of trust can destroy your effectiveness as a leader. Quite simply put, Covey says the following:
High Trust = Things get done Faster/Better + Costs Decrease
and the flip side says:
Low Trust = work slows down + costs rise
Which environment are you creating?
We’ve all seen the negative effects of a low-trust department or organization. In my own company, we had a high level executive promoted to a higher level. He was a proven sales leader. He got the numbers. But it was how he got the numbers that became the problem. He lied often. He tore people down rather than build them up. He led by fear and intimidation. No one trusted him. His teams were stressed out and looking to escape.
Fortunately, our top executives saw this happening. They took the courageous step to remove this person from our corporation. They placed values over results. Note: it’s been nearly 4 years since this executive was let go. We are putting up record growth numbers today. It took other courageous actions, but I’ll talk about that at a later time.
So how do you build high trust in your team (high trust of YOU)?
* Communicate – let your team know what is happening in your company and how they fit in to the vision/mission.
* Be Visible – spend significant time in your department. Get out of the corner or “upstairs” office and get among your team. Listen to them as they interact with your customers and other company team members. You’ll learn so much doing this!
* Ask for Input – seek your team’s ideas on how your department/company can improve. They have been thinking about it! And they can have great ideas! When you use one of their ideas, give them credit for it!
* Cheerlead – when you talk about your team, are you their cheerleader? Or do you find yourself complaining about them? If it’s the latter, who is to blame…really…? If you can’t praise your team to others, find out why and make the necessary changes. That is your job! It’s far more fun to be a cheerleader!
* Lead by Example – this works every time. If your team sees you as lazy, indifferent, uncaring, unproductive, playing favorites, etc., guess what they will become? Speed of the leader, speed of the team is true!
* Care – your team is full of people. People with dreams, fears, goals, families, hurts, needs, and feelings. Care about them. You do not have to become their best friend (don’t even try!). But don’t be afraid to get to know them and allow them to get to know you. On Friday this week, I will be traveling to another department to spend time with someone who is going through a rough life experience – something I’ve gone through. His supervisor asked me if I would take the time to talk with this great young man since she knew I had gone through something similar. How did she know about me? We had talked and I opened up. My time this Friday will not be about the company, but I’ll get a chance to encourage a fellow team member from another department. I get the chance to show him that someone cares what he is going through. I think that is an investment worth making.
There are other ways you can build trust with your team. The point is this: you set the tone for trust in your department. What kind of environment are you creating everyday? High trust? Low trust?