If you surveyed your staff would they say they trusted you as a leader? Would you get a resounding “YES” if you asked if they not only trusted you, but also trusted the organization would the answer change? Are you in a position where you aren’t quite sure if your people trust you?
In a survey conducted by EY they found that only 46% of people said they had a “great deal of trust for their employer” and 15% of people stated they had very little or no trust at all. If your company has 100 employees that would mean 15 people are likely walking around dreading work every day (and telling people about it). More specifically, in this survey, it was found that a slightly higher 49% of people said they trusted those above them and their peers.
What is the result of this lack of trust? In this survey; 44% of women and 40% of men said they would look for another job due to lack of trust. On top of that 26% of women and 24% of men said they would produce lower quality of work and be less productive because of it.
In researching a number of different sources one of the main reasons that appears repeatedly as a reason for lack of trust is “unfair compensation”. As a business leader, I see the dollars and cents associated with higher employee retention and higher employee productivity and think there must be a better way to level that out.
In the Quality of Life at Work survey conducted through ULI it correlates trust and safety at work, to how much respect someone feels from their leader. It was reported in this study that employees who felt respected were: 63% more satisfied with their work, 58% more focused and 110% more likely to stay at their job.
A simple conclusion would be that if people feel respected at work, compensation may not be as important to them. At the same time if you could save the costs associated with employee turnover, you may be able to increase compensation as well.
How do you create trust and respect in the workplace?
Create a Personal Leadership Brand
As businesses, offices and corporations grow and change they are trying to create a brand for themselves. Leaders need to have their own unique identity within that brand. You need to decide who you are as a leader and create a consistent experience that delivers on that leadership style. When you do this people can see your authentic self and decide if they want to be on your team. It allows for people to know who you are, what you stand for and how you act in the majority of situations. Just like a political candidate, it helps people stand behind you and trust builds each time you continue to match that brand.
People want to know what you want, where they stand in your eyes, and what it takes to win. Simple. If you can be clear in your expectations, honest about what it will take to get there and how you will deliver/ measure along the way, people will follow. No one wants to be told at the end of a project that they did it all wrong. At the same time, if the deliverables are going to be challenging, don’t paint a rainbow on it and try to make it seem like it is going to be easy. Honest and clear. That is what people are looking for.
Want Your Team to be More Successful than Yourself
When you create a culture where your people winning is more important than yourself winning, your team will naturally want you to win. In this situation it becomes a win, win, win for everyone involved! Help them to win through setting them up for success with on-boarding properly, ongoing training and support, and clear expectations and your team will deliver at a higher level, allowing you to win.
This cannot be said enough; you need to be consistent. How can someone trust you if they don’t know what is coming? How can someone respect you if you keep moving the target? This doesn’t mean that you can’t change expectations and/or expect more from people. It means you need to be consistent in how you deliver information. You need to be consistent in your follow up techniques. You need to be consistent in any disciplinary situations. Honestly, even if you are always grumpy (and I don’t encourage it… but for some it may be a reality), as long as you are always grumpy people know what to expect. In a practical sense, you can’t celebrate something today and then because the pressure comes from above, say it isn’t good enough tomorrow. People need to know what to expect at work.
Watch What You Say
I am going to finish with this one as it is a little different. The workplace has been changing a lot over the last 10 years. We have a lot of people who are very open with each other. As we build closer relationships with people, culture is becoming more casual in a lot of ways. There are a lot of positives to this change; and a number of them will help with the things listed above. The one thing to remember though; you are still the leader. You should not be involved in company gossip. You should not speak about another employee to someone who is not their supervisor. You should not say things negatively about the higher ups. All of these things create a culture of mistrust. If you act this way with one employee it makes them question what you are doing with another. You still need to set the tone for acceptable communication in the workplace.
As a leader you are given a significant amount of responsibility. If you take care of your people that responsibility can become easier as you will not be on the hamster wheel of turnover all the time. Spend some time on your leader ID and you will reap the rewards.