When Trust Is Broken

Friday 03.29.13Why do you think that almost 90 percent of leaders’ rate so poorly on when it comes to trust? But when you look at it, and really consider it, it really doesn’t take much to create distrust. Nonetheless, the resolutions aren’t as difficult as one might think.

To advance your connection to people and build trust, try the following:

1.  Go on a walkabout: Walk around the office each day to touch base with individual contributors to your company’s success. While email and group meetings are important, one-on-one “face time” is critical.

2. Capture vital statistics: Learn about each employee’s life. For example, spouse and children’s names and ages, major hobbies, etc. Use questions to prompt significant information: “Where are you from?” or “What do you do on your days off?”

3. Find similarities: Instead of concentrating on differences, find common interests (hobbies, desires, career goals).

4. Ask for ideas and feedback: Trust must already be recognized for people to be honest with you. Ask what they need to perform their jobs better. Acknowledge that you hear their opinions and will think about what they’ve said. Don’t dismiss or argue the merits of their input; offer a simple and genuine “thanks for sharing that.”

5. Acknowledge progress and milestones: In many organizations, problems are resolved, obstacles are overcome, tasks are completed… and nothing is celebrated. People need acknowledgment and appreciation, so grab these occasions to build trust. Revel improvement. Don’t let it slip by overlooked.

When Trust Is Broken 

It takes years to build up trust and only seconds to destroy it. ~ Anonymous

Trust is a key factor we discuss in my coaching sessions, http://www.dianagabriel.com/teamcoaching.php, with clients. There’s nothing that destroys a relationship as much as mistrust. Make sure to confront mistrust issues as soon as possible.

When trust is broken, take instant steps to correct the problem instead of ignoring or downplaying it. Employees will be unconvinced and/or suspicious, so select your words carefully. Recognize that trust has been damaged, and start the recovery process as quickly as possible.

You don’t have o have all the answers or a detailed plan. There can even be a lag between naming the problem and describing what you’ll do. Just let people know that you’re aware of the issue and its impact on them, and that you’re committed to setting things right.

Identify the problem as precisely as possible. Is there an adversarial relationship between people in the sales offices and those at headquarters? Are people doing end runs around a department that has a reputation for arrogance?

Imagine what success will look like in practice. You may, for example, establish clear roles and responsibilities, an exceptions policy, a dispute resolution process, and submission and response protocols. In meetings, you can spend less time assigning blame and more time on what the staff is doing right.

With greater trust, managers and leaders can reap tangible business benefits: increased productivity, improved performance and genuine employee engagement.

I know it can be hard to deal with a lack of trust. But nothing is more important.



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