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How to develop and grow trust

​Last week's post told Jeanette's story, and showed how untrustworthy managers can cause problems.  

​What can be done in this situation?

Firstly, it does fall to this manager to be willing to look at his behaviour and determine to develop his skills and alter his approach. Or it falls to his managers to encourage him, or get rid of him.  But let’s suppose he is willing to change.  How can he develop the trust of his team?

Stephen Covey, in The Speed of Trust, says that it can be done, even though it is tougher to regain trust once lost.

There are four elements – two relate to character, two relate to competence, and all four rely on each other.

The four elements are

​Character

  • Integrity
  • Intent

​Competence

  • Capability
  • ​Results

Let’s look at what each of these mean.

​Integrity

Doing the right thing – even if no-one is watching. Integrity is more than honesty, it’s also congruence, humility and courage.  After Gandhi spoke for two hours without notes to the House of Commons, his secretary said ‘What Gandhi thinks, what he says, what he feels, are all the same.’  And it’s important to have the courage to do the right thing, even when it’s difficult.

​Intent

We all make mistakes.  But what’s important is our intent. If we believe that someone’s intent is to help, do good, then we will feel we can trust them.  But if we don’t trust their intent, how can we trust them?  Using the example above, if we think the manager’s intent in yelling at his junior staff member was to help them learn (alright, that’s a stretch, but if he was normally helpful, and this was out of character, then we might accept that the telling off was meant to help her not to do it again) and we would still have trust for the manager. But if we know the other stuff about him, we’ll believe the roasting will be to protect his own ​behind, and that he has no interest in actually helping his team member to develop and grow. And the mistrust is what will develop and grow.

​Capability

Moving on to competence, we will not trust someone who we don’t think can do what we expect them to do. You might trust your GP for example.  But if she then says you need open heart surgery, and she will do it for you, you’re unlikely to trust such a specialised procedure to a general practitioner with no experience in surgery.

​Results

What results have been delivered?  Moving back to the manager (I should give him a name – maybe I’ll call him Ron – Ron Manager?) what results has he delivered?  The job of a manager is to get the best out of his people.  Probably to help retain expertise for his organisation, reduce stress and sickness absence. Ron is losing people left right and centre, there’s above average sickness absence, and those that stay don’t perform very well, motivation is at an all time low.

On the other hand, a manager who has a happy and productive team obviously has their trust, and equally important, trusts his team to carry out the organisation’s purpose without looking over their shoulder, and knows they will go above and beyond when it’s needed.

If you would like to improve trust within your organisation, I’d recommend reading ‘The Speed of Trust' by Stephen Covey with Rebecca Merrill, see below for more details.

​You can also give me a call to talk about how Silvern Training can help you achieve a positive, dynamic workplace using our seven guiding principles of Pam Cast.


​Call Lindsay on 0121 624 1957

​Covey, Stephen M R and Merrill, Rebecca R ​2006. ​The Speed of Trust. Free Press, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc  ​New York

About the Author Lindsay Milner

Lindsay is the owner of Silvern Training. Before that she had a very varied working life, doing everything from admin, volunteering, sales, teaching, training, fundraising, management and chairing a board of charity trustees. Now wants to change the world of work by improving workplace cultures so that people can look forward to Monday mornings. Also likes to support individuals to speak up, be better listeners and to take action.

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