Posted on Jul 24, 2015
COL Mikel J. Burroughs
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RP Members, Connections, and Friends here is a Post from July 2015 that got lost in never land here on RallyPoint, but it's still a great question - hope you enjoy the articel below, those who've not seen it.

Trust - It is Critical to Leadership? We all know the answer is YES, but let’s look a little deeper than just the YES. This article does that! Look beyond the obvious answer of YES! Answer the question, “why don’t we trust more?” Take Inventory of your Trustworthy behaviors! SEE ENTIRE ARTICLE BELOW!

By Marielena Sabatier
Managing Director, Inspiring Potential

The issue of trust is high on the leadership agenda for many organisations, especially following the financial crisis and recent scandals that have affected sectors such as banking, retail and energy in the UK. Companies in these sectors are all looking to regain trust amongst their customers and in many cases repair their damaged reputations. Trust is also important within companies and building trust can be the key to effective team working.

According to a report published last year from the CIPD, ‘Employee Outlook: Focus on trust in leader’,[1] which questioned 3000 employees at all levels and across different sectors, a lack of trust is a major issue in business. A third of employees said that trust in senior managers was weak and that a ‘them and us’ culture exists in their company. People also reported that trust is the third most important attribute they look for in senior managers (after competency and communication) and more than a third of employees also rated attributes such as openness and straight talking and honesty as being important.

I have noticed an increase in demand for my coaching services over the past few years from companies looking to rebuild teams and trust so it seems many senior managers are not doing a great job of fostering trust. Several academic books in recent years have also focused on the importance of creating and restoring trust, including, Stephen M.R Covey’s book ‘The Speed of Trust’[2]. His book discusses 13 behaviours that establish trust and looks at how an environment built on trust can be created and the exceptional results that can follow if this is achieved.

Why is trust so important in business?

It sounds obvious - managers need to trust their workers; workers need to trust their managers and employees need to be able to trust each other, but this cycle of trust is hard to achieve. When people trust their leader they are willing to follow and go the extra mile for them. As a result, productivity not only increases, but the quality of work improves because people care more. In terms of a monetary value, greater trust can result in less absenteeism, reduced employee turnover, and more productivity because people are engaged and motivated.

When there is trust managers stop micro managing and constantly double-checking work because they don’t trust someone to do a good job. This can reduce emotional stress in the workplace and promote a culture of open and honest communication. Fostering good trust is also about being vulnerable. Colleagues who trust each other are comfortable being open or exposed to one another about their failures, weakness and fears. They believe their colleagues have the integrity, competence and willingness to do their best and deliver results. Vulnerability is too often perceived as a weakness, but it is actually a sign of strength and showing your human side is what can make someone a great manager and leader.

Why don’t we trust more?

People are offended when their manager or colleagues don’t trust them, but too seldom stop to wonder why this might be the case. Have they behaved impeccably? Have they been open and honest and faced difficult situations and conversations with courage?

The key to building trust is behaving consistently with integrity. Often when people feel vulnerable or exposed they avoid difficult situations, creating ambiguity and doubt. They don’t trust how others will react to them and believe they will become overly emotional if they confront them. But in avoiding such situations, people are making a bad situation worse so communication and honesty is an important trust building ingredient.

Although we all probably understand the value of trust in the workplace, many managers don’t know how to encourage it or live it.

The first step for any manager looking at trust issues is self-analysis. They need to think about the people they trust and what it is about their behaviours that make them appear trustworthy.

Typically it will be that they display competency - the ability, experience and skills to perform in a way that meets expectations and character-wise they behave for the better good, rather than for their own wellbeing; they behave consistently and with integrity - they walk the talk, they display transparency and make the difficult choices with courage. They ultimately show a willingness and commitment to deliver the desired results.

Here are seven tips for managers to build or rebuild trust:

· Take an inventory of your trustworthy behaviours. We would hate to think that people don’t trust us, but have you ever blamed a colleague for your failure to deliver? How much do you trust? Trust is two-way and it is very fragile. It could be explained by the ‘Fundamental Attribution Error’, an idea proposed by US social psychologist Lee Ross in 1977.

It states that when it comes to other people, we attribute negative behaviour in others to their character and our own negative behaviour to context. This means that when we behave badly it is because of the situation we are in. If others behave badly it is because they are pre-disposed to behave badly. We attribute their success to their environment - they were ‘just lucky’ - whereas if we are successful it is because we are inherently good and talented.

· Act with integrity. Everyone has a different definition of integrity, but in general it means doing the right thing even when nobody else is looking. It means doing what you say you will do and leading by example and having the greater good in mind rather than your own wellbeing.

· Admit mistakes. Often people are afraid of admitting mistakes because they don’t trust others to treat them fairly. However, people need to take responsibility for their failures and not blame others or circumstances. Taking responsibility ensures your people can do something about a situation and learn from mistakes.

· Straight talk. Don’t avoid difficult conversations or feedback; people have the right to know what you think otherwise they’ll never grow or learn from their mistakes. However, whilst people may value some straight talking, difficult conversations must be balanced with empathy. When people are straight talking but lacking in empathy they could be considered opinionated, close-minded or even bullies. . Empathy is the key ingredient to get people to listen and to know you have their best interests at heart.

· Be approachable. Not only listen, but ask for your team’s opinions and suggestions, and act on them or, if you choose not to, explain why you have chosen a different course of action. Often people ask for opinions, but do not listen or do anything about them. Once you have requested information, it is critical to do something with it, either take action or reject appropriately.

· Right wrongs and go the extra mile. People often apologise, and do nothing more. Apologies like these mean nothing. If someone has been wronged it is critical to take action to make it right.

· Hold people accountable. It is important to hold people accountable for their results. When a leader lacks the courage to confront an employee who is not performing well, if affects the trust of others in the leader. People need to understand the benefits and consequences of their actions or lack of them.

Remember that trust is a privilege and not a right – it is hard to win and easy to destroy, but it is a key ingredients in any successful business.
Edited >1 y ago
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Maj Chris Nelson
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Trust is very important, in both military and civilian sectors. The civilian side may have some different challenges in gaining said trust then the military. Military is ALMOST inherited based on rank...of course, the person wearing the rank must do their part to gain the trust/keep the trust also... Military also has a greater chance of spending time living together (think deployments and even barracks/dorms). Civilian sector does not have the same bonding opportunities. Much more about going own way at the end of the work day. Applying the good, fixing the bad, and getting rid of the Ugly on civilian side must be done with some caution....many civilians do not appreciate abrupt change based on 'your orders'. There is room to do all this and more on both the military and civilian side.
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SSgt Boyd Herrst
SSgt Boyd Herrst
>1 y
I had a job .. that lasted all of a month.. I was in there working and and another cook wanted me to watch the back door while was in the cooler .. So I’m watching the Cook line and the cooler too.. So in comes the boss.. I nod my head and go back to the line.. A few
Minutes later and him and the boss are stand’g outside the cooler door
Having a very intense discussion and the boss is hold’g a. Cooler bag, .it looked loaded too .. a little bit later boss came told me I’d be line Chef that afternoon and night if another fella ouldn’t be reached.. He got in and working at 7.. I dropped back to 2d and we ran that line.. mgr. told me he had that cook sign for a ban letter.. and send him on his way.. It was already electronically signed by the General mgr. I wasn’t sure if It was legal but it’s the boss’s problem(the guy’s mom was a personal admin assistant and her job required her to have some para-legal training.. The boss wouldn’t hire the guy back but mama proved the signature had to be real not by a machine... she got unemployment for junior.. The boss fought it and tied it up.. finally in the end the boss won and junior hadto payback what he’d received..
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CPT Military Police
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Edited >1 y ago
This is a great piece. Integrity is essential to maintaining trust. It takes individuals with integrity to build a work place with integrity and a workplace built in such a manner provides the foundation for a positive work environment, where policies are built on ethics and this becomes the established/expected way of doing business. It's about having confidence in those above and below yourself.
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SSgt Boyd Herrst
SSgt Boyd Herrst
>1 y
Had a boss that had his 16 year old son follow me all over to see what kind of integrity I had.... he kept great notes and gave a copy to our boss and to me.. and he told his dad what he did.. his dad fired him !
Integrity dad, had a right to know.. is what he told dad..when he was fired by him.. it looked to me the son had more integrity than his dad..
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PO1 John Miller
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COL Mikel J. Burroughs
While I don't really have anything to contribute to the discussion I definitely have to agree. Everything I learned about leadership in the Navy I've seen afterwards in the civilian world!
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