We live in a society that suffers from severe trust deficits. As a country we pay a trust tax that high trust societies do not.
The 2016 National Corporate Trust Index surveyed 350 organisations and 1042 employees, resulting in a composite Trust Index score of 57 – considered to be unusually low.
An absence of trust impacts negatively on innovation, engagement, team cooperation and agility – regardless of whether an organisation is operating in the private or public sectors. Organisations that operate at a low level of trust do not enjoy business confidence, sustainability or financial success.
Our years of experience in working with leadership development has revealed one particularly clear trend: if leaders inspire trust, they will be better at everything they do. Trust is a multiplier for everything you do – it gives you leverage to achieve great things. If you’re not trusted, this lack of trust will diminish everything that you do.
Trust is not mystical, ethereal or intangible – it’s about displaying credibility and trustworthy behaviour. If you have built trust, you will see the tangible economic results of that trust, whether you are a team leader, a business leader, or the leader of a country. The fastest way to build trust is to make a commitment and then keep it – whether it’s a commitment to yourself or to someone else.
Trust is a learnable skill, that starts with the individual making a conscious decision to build their credibility and believability – the foundations of trust. Trust is an inside out process – it starts with one’s self and then it ripples out into relationships, team trust, organisational trust, trust in the markets around us, and then trust in our society.
Businesses must view trust as a top strategic priority. A company can have an innovative spirit, great products, a strong strategy and an efficient business model. But only by creating, embracing and leveraging trust, can a company thrive on the global landscape.
1. Employees don’t trust management … because management doesn’t trust employees
Trust is contagious – but so is distrust. In a work context, it’s the leader’s role to be the first to take the risk of extending trust. It is indeed a risk – but the greater risk is to not take the chance. Trust inspires people to rise to the occasion, to perform better than they were before. People want to be paid for their work, but they also want to be trusted, and our work internationally over the years has shown that a mere 10 percent increase in the levels of trust between employer and employee yields the same level of satisfaction that a 36 percent pay increase would.
Our studies show that of every 100 people, you probably will have three untrustworthy people. We should build trust for the 97 not create barriers to trust because of the three, because people will reciprocate your trust, often multiple times over.
2. If you get good at trust as a leader, you’ll get better at everything else too
An environment of trust will never rescue a bad strategy, but it will give the people around you – who trust you – the confidence to offer better alternatives, and to suggest innovative ways to improve the status quo. In a low trust environment, people will be too fearful to speak up, or they won’t care enough about the organisation to do anything if they can see something is amiss, with the result that innovation is stifled, there’s little desire for action for positive change and stagnation is the order of the day. Trust also gives you the leverage to ask for more from your people, because they will trust that you will recognise their efforts.
3. Trust always affects two measurable outcomes: speed and cost
When there is no trust between people, teams or businesses, everything takes longer to do – and, as we all know, time is money. An absence of trust means that there is more process and bureaucracy and less accountability. Everything takes longer and necessitates the costly involvement of third parties like expensive legal teams and other advisors.
Trust makes business happen faster in other ways too. Word of mouth recommendations only happen when the recommending person trusts the party they’re recommending – it’s the speed of trust in action, because the potential client will respond to a personal recommendation much more quickly than they would to an expensive non-personal advertisement, for example.
Sourced from FranklinCovey South Africa.