The Composition of Trust
Trust: Do You Have It and How to Build It described how our intimacy level is correlated to the amount of trust operating in our personal relationships. In his study of workplace relationships, Covey (2006) asserts that trust is built by employees operating with integrity and ability. Subsequently, a high level of workplace trust favorably impacts the bottom-line.
Trust is a function of character and competency working together. Have you worked with people with whom you could share your life stories, but who couldn’t get the job done right? What about those co-workers who always deliver a flawless product or proposal but trash-talk people behind their backs? How would you rate these colleagues on the continuum of trust? You may classify each as untrustworthy, but prefer to work with one over the other based on whether you place more value on character or competency.
The Impact of Trust
When you hire and cultivate people who embody both character and competency, you have a winning formula to beat the competition, because your organization has trust flowing through its culture. Covey (2006) proposes that when trust is high, speed is high, and cost is low, with mistrust doubling the cost of doing business. The trust formula:
(Strategy x Execution) Trust = Results
Trust becomes the multiplier for strategy and execution and reflects what we see, speak, and behave in the workplace. Increasing profits to the bottom line doesn’t have to involve another product launch or acquisition. Just increasing trust delivers increased profits. When employees trust one another, they don’t have to recover from missed deliverables, double check work for mistakes, and waste time with cover-your-ass tactics.
The two questions every employee from the C-Suite to the factory floor should ask themselves if they want to increase trust are:
- What level of trust am I operating at?
- How can I push the trust multiplier higher?
How to Increase Trust
If you’re wondering how you can increase bottom line results, Covey (2006) recommends 13 key behaviors that can push your trust factor higher.
- Talk straight: tell the truth, let people know where you stand, and don’t manipulate people or facts
- Demonstrate respect: show genuine care for others, treat people and their roles with dignity, and show kindness
- Create transparency: share information that people can verify, be open and authentic, and don’t have hidden agendas or hide information
- Right wrongs: don’t cover things up, apologize quickly, make restitution when possible, and demonstrate humility
- Show loyalty: acknowledge contributions of others, don’t bad-mouth others behind their back, and don’t disclose personal information
- Deliver results: establish a track record of making things happen, get the right things done, be on time and within budget, and don’t over-promise and under-deliver
- Get better: be a constant learner, develop feedback systems, and thank people for their feedback while acting on it
- Confront Reality: take on issues head-on, address the tough stuff directly, lead out courageously in conversation, and don’t skirt real issues
- Clarify expectations: disclose, discuss, validate, and renegotiate expectations if needed
- Practice accountability: take responsibility for results, be clear on how you’ll communicate progress, and don’t blame others when things go wrong
- Listen first: listen before speaking to understand, don’t presume you have all the answers, and listen with your ears, eyes, and heart to find out what is most important to the people you’re working with
- Keep commitments: say and do what you commit to, make commitments carefully, and don’t break confidences
- Extend trust: extend trust appropriately based on the situation, risk, and credibility of the people involve, extend trust abundantly to those who have earned it, and trust conditionally to those who are earning it
I suggest rating yourself on a scale of 1-10 on how well you demonstrate the 13 key behaviors of trust. For those 2-3 behaviors where you scored the lowest, identify some specific changes you can make that would drive that behavior higher on the trust scale. Monitor your progress and see how your colleagues respond to you.
Covey, S. (2006). The Speed of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything. New York, NY: CoveyLink.
About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and premarital/marriage coaching. She coaches individuals and couples as well as designs and facilitates workshops. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com