#14 Trust

If levels of trust were a stock market indicator, we would say we are in a very bearish market. A March 2021 Gallup Panel survey found that only 23% of U.S. employees strongly agree that they trust the leadership of their organization.

This affects us all. When people lose trust in leaders, their decisions are informed by suspicion and their actions by self-interest. Businesses become more vulnerable as fewer employees are motivated to act for the greater good. As Warren Buffet said, "Trust is like the air we breathe — when it’s present, nobody really notices; when it’s absent, everybody notices." Indeed, Gallup finds that low-performing teams in low-trust cultures talk about trust constantly. In high-trust cultures, teams rarely mention trust at all.

And when employees lose trust in leadership, why should they stay?

In his book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Patrick Lencioni identifies the absence of trust as the number one trap that causes teams to be ineffective. He further suggests that while the absence of trust can cause teams to be ineffective, the converse is also true, because trust is the foundation on which healthy relationships are formed. With trust, it is possible to build an environment where people experience psychological safety and can display vulnerability without fear of repercussion. It is also possible for individual team members to enter into productive conflict with other team members, while maintaining a comfort level for committing themselves to tasks and to holding each other accountable. This is because they trust that team members will speak up and not just try to show them out or throw them under the bus when things go wrong.

Gallup suggests seven leadership practices to build trust:

  • The ability to build relationships that establish connections that transmit ideas and accomplish work
  • A drive for development that focuses on followers’ needs, expectations and aspirations
  • Comfort with leading change in organizational strategy and in alignment with the vision
  • The capacity to inspire others by encouraging their efforts and celebrating success
  • Critical thinking that seeks information openly, invites dissent and stimulates debate where needed
  • Communication skills that result in clear, open and transparent dialog that empowers trust
  • A need for accountability to hold yourself and others responsible for performance

This blog is based on: https://www.gallup.com/workplace/393401/trust-decline-rebuild.aspx, June 14, 2022.



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