Last week saw a senior Goldman Sachs employee Greg Smith leave very publicly by denouncing the company culture saying, “I can honestly say that the environment now is as toxic and destructive as I have ever seen it.”
Greg had lost faith and trust in his employers and while many employees wouldn’t have the clout to get in the New York Times, that doesn’t mean that they couldn’t do some very serious damage to your organisation’s reputation.
Even more serious than your reputation are the underlying factors that could cause an employee to feel the way that Smith did. I’ve seen this in countless organisations where a complete lack of trust colours absolutely everything that is done.
When was the last time you experienced negative office politics slowing things down? People covering their behinds with mass emails? Managers reluctant to make decisions unless it’s a joint decision in a meeting so that any potential blame can be shared out equally or even passed to somebody else? People promoted out of harms way instead of poor performance being addressed?
Building trust may seem to be generated by competence and reliability, however, it goes much deeper than that.
As organisations go through further Talent Dynamics steps it becomes clear very quickly how much trust and integrity there is at a senior level. Will people let go and delegate properly? When discussing the purpose or promise of a team or organisation are people on the same planet, let alone the same page? Do people ‘do as I say, not as I do’?
If employees don’t trust management, how can they be 100 per cent believable when interacting with your clients? At least without it eating them up inside, potentially creating stress and even ill health.
The layers of additional work and bureaucracy created by a lack of trust cost the bottom line. Hugely.
Does your organisation share its financials with its employees? Does it share the thought process behind major decisions? Does it genuinely ask for input, provide feedback and create a genuine dialogue?
If not, why not?
What is it hiding? If you or your organisation aren’t hiding things from your employees then please be aware that is how it may well come across.
How to Generate Trust
- Give trust wisely. Discover where your team members will add the most value and let them do so.
- 10x communication. Whatever level of communication goes on in your organisation, increase it by ten times. Be open, honest and transparent in your dealings. Answer all questions without any fear of reprisal.
- Ask for feedback and input. While employee surveys can be useful, more useful is ongoing and regular feedback with line managers as part of regular 121s and team meetings.
- All the world’s a stage. Remember that your team(s) watch what you do every day. How congruent is it with what you say? For one day, preface everything you do and say with the thought, “what would the most cynical employee think of this?” Would that change your behaviour, or perhaps how you communicate what you are up to?
- Work with people’s energies. Remember to allow people to be in flow and to support them in their primary energy. A Steel energy person may feel pressured to come up with ideas but a Dynamo will be delighted to finally have an outlet for their innovation. Ask a Tempo person about how to build upon existing relationships with other teams/customers, not about how to make systems better. Get the Blaze people to help communicate and forge new relationships, to ‘sell’ internally the results your team is getting to build trust in your competence.
Finally, make sure that you’re in flow yourself and are building relationships based on trust and respect. If you can’t look yourself in the mirror then it will be challenging to look other people in the eye and mean it. You know that when you’re in flow the positive results you get make you feel better about yourself and help you to elevate others in your team and organisation.
This is the best way to help your customers and get the financial results that then naturally flow…