Reap without sowing?

Wednesday, 18 January 2012 00:02 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships – Stephen R. Covey

Mutual trust is an important factor for all healthy relationships. For a successful organisation it is trust that makes it strong and long lasting. Organisations should learn the psychological factors of trust, evaluate employ ee needs and take actions to build employee trust. If either party doesn’t trust the other, how can the management expect the work force to listen to their orders or information?

Building trust at the top

Nalin Jayasuriya (seated fifth from left) ran programmes on leadership and trust building for Milcris Group, Muscat, Oman


In order to build trust in a company culture, the top managers should make the employees perceive that the managers are ready to solve any issue that arises and move the company forward. They should also perceive that the company has strength to lift and hold them up.

Make sure that employees understand that once trust is broken it can never be mended. “Trust takes time to build but can be dashed in an instant” (Coomer, 1999). Employees too value honesty, forward looking mindset, inspiration and competence from their managers.

If managers lie to their work force to get things done, that’s a BIG turning down point. As long as you keep it open its good for your reputation and personality. Show your employees that you are working for the future and that past doesn’t matter. Always be available for your staff.

Employees are more likely to share sensitive information, suggest ideas for improvement or just interact on a personal level when a manager has an open-door policy. When employees makes mistakes show that you will be there to correct it. Inspire the work done by your employees.

The first way of becoming a trustworthy employer is to show trust to your employees and in yourself. It’s like attraction. What you give is what you get. Trusting in yourself makes your employees trust in you. If you have assigned tasks to your employees make sure to execute them on their scheduled dates. If you won’t execute your promises, you will be like a false prophet who gives false prophesies.

Winning attention and respect

As managers you should be willing to lend your ears and your hands to your employees. If one of your employees tells you that your office needs some adjustment, you should not only listen but act and realise his request if it is appropriate. Showing that you have considered your employees request makes employee trust that, you will take actions to what’s right.

Leaders should be the greatest, most mature and most humble persons inside an organisation. To earn trust and respect be more matured and humbler than your employees. Managers and leaders! You hold the greatest positions inside the office. So as managers, do not forget that you are bound to give assistance and benefits to your employees.

First impression matters the most out of all. If you look impressive, people will initially trust in you and it’s up to you to keep the knot tied tight. People are people you should be extra careful with them since you are handling with their hearts and brains.

All people are emotionally and personally uncontrollable. Management hurting employee’s emotionally makes that person uncertain about how to behave. The temptation to fight or flight is apparent, frustration at feeling vulnerable and angry at becoming the “other”. So before you say or do think twice.

Be more knowledgeable; knowledge is power which lightens up yours and employees’ path instead of giving them darkness and confusion. So in every instruction or command you make, be sure that they make sense and understand.

Wisdom, like perfume, rises out of its own essence – Norman Mailer.

Wisdom is the ability or result of an ability to think and act utilising knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense and insight. To be a reliable leader and decision maker you should make the best decisions, as well as the finest actions. You should be more understanding about your employees and understanding comes when you give value and importance to them. Obviously this is one of the best ways to achieve trust from your employees.

Always be generous and forgiving. You should learn how to give more than what your employees deserve and how to forgive their offenses. Do it equally and customarily. This will guarantee the trust you want from your employees.

Creating trust within employees’ hearts is not easy but it’s worth the try though. In any relationship as we all know communication is an important factor which contributes to succession in relationships, as it provides the artery for information and truth. Managers communicating the organisation’s vision, mission, values, tasks, duties and responsibilities clearly help everyone to achieve what they want mutually.

In management-employee relationships when all incumbents are treated as equal, trust is not an issue to receive. Whether it’s the newest rookie, a part-timer, or the lowest paid employee be sure to make them feel important and part of the team.

Managers should seek their employees’ opinions, ideas; know their names, families all with genuine respect. Make the employees work for a shared goal rather than on a personal goal. Trust results when everyone is pulling towards a shared goal. When a team really works, the players trust each other.

Are you open-minded?

Your intuition tells you what’s nearly right to do in every situation. Doing what’s right, regardless of personal risk. Inspiring your employees with bold visions and complimentary goals helps managers’ or leaders’ to gain trust. When you are supportive, loyal, self-confident, intelligent and open, you can gain trust from your employees. Be open-minded to employee suggestions and empowering employees to add to organisational strengths and successes.

Communication should be done face-to-face because some employees like to hear straight from their boss rather than from their colleagues. Do what you say you are going to do. This is one of the fastest paths to trustworthiness. When you say that you are going to do something, write it down so that you won’t forget it. Even when someone else tells you that they will get something done for you, make sure to follow up on it to get it done.

Avoid giving surprises to your employees, by that it doesn’t mean that you should not surprise him/her for his birthday or a special event of theirs; it means that when you inform your employees about a promotion or change of procedures or policies, etc., make sure that everyone from the departments gets the message. One of the best ways to avoid surprises is through communication.

The concept called ‘The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy’ is a prediction that directly or indirectly causes itself to become true, by the very terms of the prophecy itself, due to positive feedback between belief and behaviour. If you are having high expectations for your staff treat them as if they are capable, competent and expect them to function as such.

As a manager, creating team spirit is also part of your duty. Give credit for success to your staff and take responsibility when things don’t go well. As you are the boss it’s your job make your staff well trained, capable and competent.

Create fun for your staff

Create a physical environment which is clean, bright, attractive and cheerful. Make sure it has natural light as much as possible, and that each staff member has their own personal space. As human beings we all like be at places where people have fun, so try making your workplace feel happy and festive. You can do small things like providing a cake with a banner or sign in the break room saying “today we are celebrating…” Ask your employees what would be fun for them and then implement what is feasible. Doing so helps employees to be happy and trust the management.

Conducting employee trust surveys shows you how much employees trust their company, policies, procedures, and objectives. Not all may trust their organisation; as I have said before it’s because building trust takes a long time and depends on the way you show and do things to earn it.

There may be instant pudding and instant noodles; there is no such thing as instant trust. But if you do what you say you’re going to do, do even more than is expected, openly communicate often, practice the concept of ‘no surprises,’ be honest even when it costs you something to be honest and learn to genuinely care about an individual’s personal and professional success, you will find it easier to build relationships based on trust.

You can never buy trust; it can only be earned with hard work. This applies to both top level management and employees.

(The writer is the Managing Director & CEO, McQuire Rens & Jones (Pvt) Ltd. He has held Regional Responsibilities of two Multinational Companies of which one, Smithkline Beecham International, was a Fortune 500 company before merging to become GSK. He carries out consultancy assignments and management training in Dubai, India, Maldives, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Bangladesh. Nalin has been consultant to assignments in the CEB, Airport & Aviation Services and setting up the PUCSL. He is a much sought-after business consultant and corporate management trainer in Sri Lanka. He has won special commendation from the UN Headquarters in New York for his record speed in re-profiling and re-structuring the UNDP. He has lead consultancy assignments for the World Bank and the ADB. Nalin is an executive coach to top teams of several multinational and blue chip companies. He is a Director on the Board of Entrust Securities Plc.)

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