Trust – an easy word to say however not always the easiest thing to build. It is difficult for us to build trusting relationships on an individual basis let alone in an organization. For an organization to build a high trust culture it takes commitment and it takes strong leadership. In other words, it all has to start at the top.
A quick look at Fortune 100’s top 10 organizations and you can begin to see the degree of effort that is required to create that high trust culture. Each of those top 10 have demonstrated the commitment to this type of culture. Why should they bother? Is it really worth the effort?
Also read: Leadership, Mentoring and Trust
Most organizations that have committed to the building and maintaining of a high trust culture recognize some of these benefits:
- 50% higher workplace productivity
- 13% fewer sick days
- 76% more engagement at work
- Up to 50% less voluntary turnover of staff
- Higher customer satisfaction ratings
What I find the most interesting in all the research that I have been doing on building a high trust culture is that there is considerable focus on the personal growth of the employee. We are talking mind, body and spirit for the most part. Another key element is the building of relationships.
When I was a young leader I allowed myself to get caught up in a routine of coming to work, going for coffee and remaining in my office until I had to discipline an employee. I always wondered why my employees seemed to run and hide whenever I was coming to their work area. The majority of the time it was to chastise an employee for a less than stellar performance. One of my mentors pointed out to me that I did not have a relationship – a trusted relationship with any of my employees as I had not taken the time to do so. As a result, the outcome was quite clear. There was disconnect between my employees and I, there was disconnect between the organization and my employees and there was actually disconnect between the organization and I as I was not motivating employees to be the best that they could be by trusting them. Needless to say my behaviour had to change and it did. I developed trusted relationships with all my employees. I frequently sought their opinion on the direction we were going. I took the time to get to each work area and got to know employees on a more personal level. The outcomes were phenomenal and the results were in alignment with the benefits listed above. Had my mentor not guided me at this crucial time in my career I would not be as successful as I am today. This wisdom has since been passed on to others that I spend time with in a mentoring relationship.
The building of a high trust culture is not an easy journey. When you embark on this journey make sure that you leverage mentoring as a means to help build the culture of high trust. When I look at an effective mentor I see the characteristics and behaviours that would champion a high trust culture.
Effective mentors focus on building trusted relationships. They guide you to the answer rather than tell you what or how to do something. The approach is more of a collaborative one as both the mentor and mentee learn from the time they spend together. An effective mentor is typically humble and not afraid to show vulnerability. All of these are important in the building of a high trust culture.
You have made the decision to create that high trust culture but are unsure of the next steps. Don’t be afraid to reach out to someone for guidance. Make sure that you leverage the “gift of mentoring” as much as you can in your journey to a high trust culture. You will be pleased that you did!
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