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Why Trust is important

Posted by Ann Baret on 21 April 2017 2:00 PM CAT
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In economic uncertainty, trust is one of the first things to diminish within an organization. And with the global financial turmoil of the last few years it seems that distrust and uncertainty has become the rule in company culture rather than the exception. Here’s why trust matters.

For an employee to doubt his future is a surefire way create an overwhelming feeling of distrust in his company’s leadership and management. Many of us have been through the emotional turmoil of retrenchment and talk of downsizing and even if it doesn’t lead to an actual job being lost, it still has an emotional impact on company moral.

So how do leaders then avoid these negative undercurrents within their organization and instead create a culture of trust?

According to Joel Gascoigne, CEO of Buffer, transparency is what creates trust within a company. By allowing the free flow of information through all levels of an organization, you create trust which is the foundation of great teamwork. It also empowers the employees to make the right decisions since they are in possession of all the information.

A radical step towards complete transparency is an open salary formula. Gascoigne believes this helps him battle inequality that may creep in with salary negotiations and performance bonuses. As an example, the formula completely disregards gender which places all employees on equal footing.

The flipside of course of internal transparency is the complete trust that your employees will respect company confidentiality. This can pose some difficulty, especially in larger organizations where the flow of information is more rapid and less controlled. Yet according to Jack Dorsey, CEO of Square, if the company culture demands commitment to this principle it is completely achievable.

And transparency is not only a corporate or PR term; personal transparency also comes into play. Familiarity between colleagues greatly contributes in creating understanding at team level. Even if you are not the type to share your every emotion, by making it clear that you prefer to be private you help team members understand your personal space without being labeled as aloof.

This is especially true of team leaders or a company’s management team. While every employee in your company need not know the personal details of your life, they do need to thoroughly understand your business details. Transparency within a company allows them to celebrate the highs and lows with you, while hiding it creates uncertainty and distrust.

According to an article published in the Harvard Business Review, there are many ways to cultivate trust and transparency in a company:

  • Personal disclosure. A warm sharing of personal feelings and experiences.
  • Vulnerability. A willingness to share mistakes, doubts, fears.
  • Loyalty. Demonstrating commitment to the organization and individual people.
  • Being Inclusive. Including others for input or decision-making.
  • Being Appreciative. Willing to acknowledge and praise other’s contributions.
  • Being Open. Easily exploring new ideas and new approaches.
  • Affinity. Having a good bit in common with someone else, sharing similar experiences and interests.

But while some of these indicators are very important to some people, they are less essential to others. Knowing who responds to what information is essential for trust to be created within a team and the subsequent success of that team.

We can help you to create trust and transparency within your teams and organization. Contact us for more information

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