How Important Is Trust?

People are frustrated and disappointed because something very important is missing in their relationships, workplace and public realm – trust! They seek, and crave, to elect, work for, and have relationships with people they can trust. Unfortunately the current election campaign of our neighbors to the south illustrates the all-time low the American public has in the trustworthiness of the two candidates vying for the highest position in the nation. Because of the lack of trust in the candidates some citizens are actually willing to forgo exercising their democratic right to vote because they are disenchanted or simply fed-up of listening to lies, half-truths and misrepresentation of the facts.

You and I likely have little or no effect on the outcome of the election but we can certainly learn a valuable personal lesson from what we are observing about the importance of trust.

If you are a leader in your workplace, community or neighborhood, you can have a powerful impact creating trust by changing the culture, increasing engagement and improving productivity with those you interact with.

Review the following points to identify how you can build trust within your organization, team and personal relationships.

Trust is the Foundation

  • Trust is critical to achieve organizational effectiveness; implement strategic initiatives, increase employee engagement, collaboration, and intelligent risk taking.
  • Trust is typically the number one determinant of employee satisfaction. Employees viewed a small increase in their trust in management as equivalent to receiving a 36% pay increase! Conversely, they viewed a small decrease in trust as a 36% pay cut!
  • Trust makes organizations more profitable. A recent study showed that organizations where front-line workers trust senior leadership posted a 42% higher rate of return than those organizations where distrust was the norm a 42% reduction.
  • A workplace culture of trust increases speed to market, innovation and breakthrough ideas and results in greater customer satisfaction, reduces cost and conflict between employees and with customers.
  • Employees working in an environment where trust is fostered adapt to change better, are more engaged and committed to relationships with colleagues and produce greater results.

Ways you can Increase Trust

  • Be more self-aware – notice the impact your actions and words have on others.
  • Take responsibility for building trusting relationships with others – be proactive.
  • Demonstrate that you are considering the best interests of others rather than just yourself.
  • Do what you say you will.
  • Model the values and principles that build trust.
  • Be willing to consider and acknowledge both sides of the story – more people will approach you with different perspectives if they feel safe.

How trustworthy are you? David Maister, Charles M. Green and Rob Galford explored this question in their book The Trusted Advisor and here is a short explanation of the trust equation from Harvard Business Review.

Final thought – Trust is like a mirror, once you break it you can never look at it the same way again.

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