While you might be dubious about the positive effects of soft skills vs. the hard skills of running your day to day business, there is no denying that trust is a must. If you want your business to succeed in the long run, you must cultivate a sense of trust in leadership amongst your employees. Simply put – trust in effective leadership in the workplace is the foundation of any successful organization.
We know that no one would argue against the idea of the importance of trust in leadership as valuable for any business, do you truly understand just how important it can be?
Steve Jobs, the famous visionary of Apple, is known for changing the organization from the inside out. While many other leaders of his generation regard ‘trust in leadership’ as a ‘secondary competency’ that can be left as a low priority, Jobs realized that it was far more important than many of his peers believed.
Jobs identified “Inspiring Trust’ in leadership as one of his number one priorities. While some shareholders feared that this was a major misstep, his efforts paid off. While he may not have always been the easiest person to get along with, his employees knew that he would always lead them to success. His most famous piece of advice to his employees? “Dream Bigger.”
Coincidence? Not at all. All of these achievements – and all of these profits – have branched out from an understanding that trust is the backbone of any successful organization. You can benefit from the same attitude and strategies.
Trust isn’t optional. Without this basic tenet your business can fall – sometimes quite literally – into a state of neglect, disrepair and ruin. That said, when your employees – and your clients – trust you, your business can achieve constant improvement and measurable growth in the market.
There is a large body of proof to support this truth, but somehow many managers and business owners still neglect its importance. Every year, Fortune Magazine collaborates with The Great Place to Work Institute to release “100 Best Companies to Work For” data.
Trust comprises two-thirds of the criteria for which companies are scored!
When a company gains a place on this illustrious list, they don’t just win accolades. No, there is a large measure of tangible profitability and success that is correlated with an appearance on the list – in America, the companies voted trustworthy have outperformed their competitors by three times on the S&P 500.
Trust is so much more than an intangible feeling that benefits the working relationship between colleagues and management. Trust affects two measurable business drivers – cost and speed. Think of it this way – when trust in a firm decreases, speed goes down. People feel less motivated and are no longer compelled to work hard to do their best. When speed goes down, cost increases. Of course, the opposite is also very true. When trust increases, so does speed – and therefore, costs go down.
We can all learn from Doug Conant’s best practices and strategies from his time at the Campbell Soup Company. He believes that the three main ways to inspire and build trust are: Declaring Intent, Demonstrating Respect, and Delivering Results.
Declaring your intent: Your intent is the motive or push behind your agenda – what are you trying to achieve? By declaring your intent clearly and concisely to your team, you help them to understand your goals from the ground floor. You can increase trust even more if your declared intent has clearly been designed to mutually benefit all of those in your company. By declaring your intent and following through on these plans, you increase your credibility and build the confidence of all of those around you.
Demonstrating respect: While you might think that respect is a no brainer in your organisation, think again. Have all of your policies been designed with mutual trust in mind? Do your employees feel respected by each other and by your management team? Have you asked them? It is not enough to simply state that you respect your team – you have to demonstrate it over and over again.
Respect is not just about what you say, it is about what you do. This can include creating a comfortable break room, providing healthy snacks and following through on your word. Your respect for your team should be demonstrated in many tangible and intangible ways on a daily basis.
Delivering results: If truly want your team to trust you, the proof is in the pudding. Delivering the results that you promise on a consistent basis is about so much more than just finishing tasks and projects on time and under budget. It is about sharing the spoils with your team and delivering on any and all promises that you have made to them. Remember, everyone likes to be on the winning team. If you achieve the goals that you have set out at the beginning of this process, make sure that everyone feels like they have contributed to this major milestone.
You might have placed building trust on the backburner in the past, but it needs to go to the top of your priorities list. By fostering a strong sense of trust in leadership, you will engage your employees, increase your retention and help to supercharge your productivity.
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