As management, we frequently communicate company goals and expectations to ensure all employees know the company vision. We spend a lot of our time telling the employees what we need from them to accomplish these goals. We invest in training to teach them how to do the job and we measure them on their success rate to accomplish the task. The question is – Are we doing enough to measure ourselves on what is really important to them?
In my career, trust has been a common topic; how to build it, the cost of losing it and the value of having it. An environment of trust and commitment is something most companies seek. Throughout my leadership journey, I have had the opportunity to put much of what I have learned into practice and found the greatest value was in exercising Leadership Commitment. Here is what it means to me:
Make That Commitment
Find out what is really important to your employees and deeply engage in it. Challenge yourself to create people-oriented SLA’s (service level agreement) and manage them as closely as you manage the finances. You may not always give everyone what they want but your commitment to finding solutions and an awareness of what’s important to them creates a feeling of value and builds a culture of trust.
Assess Your Trust Bank
Make deposits every day. Actions such as truthfulness, transparent communication, listening, not playing favorites and leading by example are proven trust builders. Gauge your team and remember, deposits must be meaningful to the individual in order to be accepted by them.
Consistently communicate the organization’s purpose, goals, and challenges. Outline the roles of each level of management, putting extra attention on the role and commitment of higher management to the frontline staff.
Say what you mean all the time, even if it is a difficult message. Don’t create false hope or be afraid to share the challenges. Give the facts as they really exist and be ready to honestly answer any questions your team may have.
Hold Yourself Accountable
Be wrong, be humble, be sincere and be human. Things don’t always go as planned or as designed. When something goes wrong own it, acknowledge the error and make it right. Use the opportunity to restate the intent and give your commitment to always do the right thing.
If you truly want to gain the trust of your employees – be accountable to your own goal. Reflect weekly on how well you did, write down the actions you completed, be honest about errors you made and set goals for the following week. Ask for and accept feedback from your team and follow through on your goals. Like any initiative, if you don’t follow through, commitment cannot be sustained.
By nature, employees want to do a good job and contribute to the company success. We all thrive in environments that motivate us, environments that don’t take away more than they give. Make sure you are supporting such an environment, one that gives the right balance to the needs of the business and the employees. Finding this combination will help you build, repair and maintain trust in your organization.