Trust is often talked about as the foundation of a company’s success. Most teams think about trust in terms of customers but trust within the organization is equally important.
As you grow an organization, your employees must believe in one another. When they don’t, performance suffers.
How do you build trust?
In order to build trust in the workplace, there is the typical advice to be transparent, truthful, and have integrity. It is important advice. It’s also critical to understand that your human wiring is the also the bedrock of building trust.
One of my CEO clients was naturally wired with a high degree of autonomy. He didn’t realize he was commanding rather than encouraging. He would then complain that his employees came to him for every decision wondering why they couldn’t make a decision.
He actually created that current environment. When someone would come to him with a problem, he would tell them what to do instead of encouraging them to problem solve.
When we worked through how to create and communicate expectations, build in accountability systems, and coach others, he saw the trust improve with this team on many levels. As he changed how he was interacting with his team by asking them their opinions on what would fix situations, rather than being told, they began to develop ownership over problem solving which created more trust in their own abilities, with him, and with one another.
In another dynamic, one of our clients had two employees that were at odds with one another. One was naturally wired as an Internal Thinker. He would give a blank processing stare and often didn’t say much in meetings. Another employee who was wired as an External Thinker live streamed her thoughts.
The Internal Thinker thought that the External Thinker could not be trusted simply because he thought she talked around issues. The External Thinker looked at the Internal Thinker and did not trust him because the Internal Thinker wouldn’t say much so the External Thinker thought he was hiding his real thoughts.
In actuality, these two individuals simply processed thought differently and made assumptions about one another that eroded their communication and trust. Once they recognized was at the root of their distrust and perception, they could use simple techniques that meshed with one another’s way that they processed information.
For example, knowing that the Internal Thinker needed some time to process information, the External Thinker could circle back with the individual after they have had a chance to think about a topic. It wasn’t that the Internal Thinker was hiding anything, it was simply a matter of time to think things through.
With the External Thinker verbalizing her thoughts, it occurred to the Internal Thinker she was talking around issues. Understanding now that the External Thinker verbalized externally, he recognized she needed the verbalization to crystalize her thoughts, not that she was talking around issues. She also learned to be more succinct and direct in her communication with him.
Building trust doesn’t happen overnight nor is it created with one-and-done tactics. Building trust is a practice applied every day.