Why is Trust so Important?

In recent years there has been an increasing focus studying the importance of trust in the building of quality organizations.

Where there is widespread distrust, work effectiveness is usually seriously impacted. In this climate, people:

  • are more guarded about what they say to each other.
  • are less likely to really work together as a team.
  • become increasingly skeptical of the motives and information given by their leaders.
  • view new initiatives suspiciously.
  • form cliques.
  • feel that it is "uncool" to say positive things about their leaders.
  • are interested in conspiracy theories.
  • leave real conflicts unresolved.
  • work less efficiently as co-operation and communication barriers develop between people and departments.

One the other hand, when their is a high level of trust between team members and towards the leadership, people will:

  • be more open and authentic.
  • build relationships that are closer and more fulfilling.
  • work well together as a team.
  • openly praise leaders for the good things that they do.
  • feel more comfortable in raising concerns with their leaders.
  • be more accepting and co-operative when it comes to new initiatives and procedures.
  • work more effectively.
  • It makes good sense in every way to value and build trust in the workplace. More will get done and your team will be happier.

Some questions to consider:

How would you rate the level of trust between your team members and the leadership of your organization?

1         2        3        4        5        6        7       8        9      10
very low                                                                             very high

  • Have there been any actions or inaction's by the leadership in the past that could have eroded the team's trust level? If so, can there be anything done to address these concerns?
  • Is there anything that your leaders are currently doing that will impact on the team's level of trust?
  • Do your team members feel that they can be authentic and totally open with you and other leaders?
  • In what ways can you build a greater atmosphere of trust?

" Mistrust doubles the cost of doing business"   - Prof John Whitney

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Steve Bagi is the principal of Actuate Consulting and a consulting psychologist and speaker who has over 25 years of experience in leadership and organizational development. He specializes in helping staff teams to understand and develop their strengths, leading to greater individual and team effectiveness. Although based in Australia, Steve works with leaders throughout the world.

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