3 Ways to Increase Trust

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Every organization we speak to expresses the need for trust in its operation. Best-selling author, Stephen M.R. Covey teaches that when trust is low in an organization, everything moves slower and costs more. He also notes that when trust is high, everything moves faster and costs less. Anyone who has ever spent time thinking about the flow of an organization’s business has seen this is action.  

Companies today want to know how to increase trust. Here are three scenarios that show ways to build trust in your team or organization. 

1. Trust yesterday and today 

A company just had a reduction in force — or to be politically incorrect, a layoff. Suddenly, the people affected have their computer access cut off and are escorted to their desks to gather their things before being led out of the building! 

This process might be warranted for those who did something wrong and are being terminated, but what about those caught up in a reduction? Yesterday, they were trusted employees, but today they are potential criminals. Why? What happened to these people overnight? 

The servant-led approach would be to treat them with dignity and respect. Allow them to say goodbye to their colleagues. Let them finish out their day if they would like to. Extend the same trust given to them before the layoff because how they are treated on this day will stay in their memories for years.

2. Non-delegator shows a lack of trust

A company has a supervisor who is convinced no one can do the job better than she does. As a result, she attempts to do much more than she should; her plate is overflowing. Delegation is something she just doesn’t have time for. As her team looks at how busy she is, they wonder why she doesn’t trust them to do the work they were hired to do. As tough as it may be, if you want to be a servant leader and build trust in your team, you must delegate to them. Delegating makes the huge statement that you value them and trust them to get the job done. Just be sure when you delegate you communicate the goal, their role and the process you want them to use — if a specific process is necessary. Don’t insist on a certain process just because that’s how you would do it. Trust your team and you will see trust grow among them.

3. Trusting to a point

This company has a leader who believes he has got the delegation thing down pat. He is delegating all over the place. He gives very clear instructions about the work, including a request to be copied on every piece of communication related to the task. He encourages team members to attend meetings, but they must report back to him about who said what and what was decided. He is trusting — to a point. Servant leadership teaches us that we need to trust that the people we give work to will be discerning enough to know when they should involve their leader. How will individual contributors ever grow and develop if we don’t put them into situations where they can make decisions independently?  

Servant leadership companies are working on these issues all the time. Does your company have scenarios like these? Take some time to think about your leadership and the messages you are sending. When you increase the trust within your team, you will find your processes will run more smoothly and performance will improve. Most importantly, you will be building an environment that makes people genuinely enjoy coming to work.

What are some small ways you can increase trust in your team or organization?