Welcome to the June 2008 issue of Alignment Solutions! This month we build on May’s topic of workplace and personal values by taking a closer look at TRUST. No organization can optimize its business results unless there is trust among its employees. Yet establishing a trusting environment often seems to be a challenging endeavor. Why is this the case? On a personal level, self-trust seems to elude many individuals. When it does, our quality of life is diminished. What can we do to address these important issues?
The premise of the Feature Article, Trust: A Personal Value Essential to Organizational Success, is that organizations whose employees lack trust in management, colleagues, and themselves cannot optimize their business results. We offer some insight into this complex yet elusive value by focusing on what distinguishes trust from other workplace values.
In the Business Solutions section, Building Trust in the Workplace offers suggestions for how to personalize the value “trust” so you can determine specifically what you need to say and do to earn others’ trust. Conversely, do your colleagues and subordinates know what they must do to earn your trust? If not, this article should be of interest.
In the Personal Solutions section, Save Yourself an Unnecessary Trip: Trust Your Internal Wizard challenges you to examine your level of self-trust. My experience is that people often are unaware that they have the talent and skills they need to succeed in life. What can you do to be sure you don’t get caught in this trap?
I invite you to visit my web site at www.BusinessAlignmentStrategies.com to find articles and resources that may be of value to you and your colleagues. I welcome your feedback!
Trust: A Personal Value Essential to Organizational Success
Why spend time developing and nurturing trusting relationships in the workplace? Put simply, no organization can optimize its business results unless there is trust among its employees.
Like other values, trust is something that must be gained over time. We are not “entitled” to others’ trust; we have to earn it. Unlike other values, trust is very personal. That is, we put ourselves in a position of vulnerability when we trust others, so our well-being rests partly in their hands. In effect, because we cede control of some part(s) of our lives to those individuals, we have a vested and personal interest in the outcome. Our hope is that their actions will justify the faith we have entrusted to them, and that they will live up to our expectations.
The fact that trust is so personal is illustrated by the terms we tend to use when people have proven to be untrustworthy – i.e., we say they have violated or betrayed our trust. “Violate” and “betray” are very strong words with important emotional connotations. They also are very personal: we feel that someone who betrays our trust has inflicted a personal injustice on us. Now contrast those words to the language we use to describe what happens when people do not demonstrate other values, such as professionalism and integrity: we say those people are being unprofessional, or that they lack integrity. We tend to view other people’s lack of values as indicators of character that have to do with them, not with us – i.e., they do not affect us personally.
What does trust “look like” in the workplace? I recently worked with a client to help communicate and personalize a set of values that executives want employees to embody. Here are a few of the behaviors people identified as indicators that “management is trustworthy:”
If your organization is characterized by trusting relationships, celebrate! Be sure to keep up the good work: once lost, trust is exceptionally difficult to restore. If your organization is failing to optimize its results because of a lack of trust, what will your next step be?
For a more complete discussion of this topic, including definitions of trust and examples of behaviors and outcomes that demonstrate trust, please see the complete article Trust: A Personal Value Essential to Organizational Success on my web site.