Trust or No Trust?

March 6th

When I begin to work with clients, it is common to find challenges with trust. Many teams have conflict and difficulty because there is little, or at times, no trust in one another. When this happens, it’s important to get assistance right away to rebuild the trust.

Let’s look at TRUST bit by bit:

T is for Transparency. Leaders that share freely and openly what is happening throughout the agency with others build trust. The old style of management was to hold the information and only share it as needed. High trust environments require sufficient trust from leaders to communicate the information in a timely and clear manner. Consider a regular e-newsletter or meeting to share upcoming changes in team, funding and other news, while ensuring every team member has the same access to the information across the organization.

R is for Relationships. The quality of your relationships with partner agencies, funders, team members and clients highly impacts your level of success. Ensuring that you are respectful, honest, using candor and listening to deeper issues, build trust in relationships. Leaders who have positive relationships built on consistency, collaboration and congruency will build trust with employees. Ensure you are consistent with what you say you will do, act in the same manner you wish your employees to and ensure that you are holding both yourself and your team members accountable.

U is for Understanding. Make the investment to fully appreciate what your staff is experiencing in terms of successes and challenges in their work. By fully understanding their world, you can ensure that policies and procedures serve both your team and your clients’ needs. When you don’t understand another individual’s perspective, ask open-ended questions that you don’t know the answer to. Also, regularly ask yourself what your assumptions are in the moment and ask questions with genuine curiosity to ensure you have a thorough understanding of the other person’s perspective.

S is for Shared Success. Creating a clear vision of shared success is important to bring your Mission Statement to life every day. Uncover potential barriers to good work and seek creative solutions to resolve them. Don’t just see these comments as complaints but instead, investigate to understand and then seek solutions. Make time to celebrate your successes with one another and as an agency as a means to build momentum, so that your shared vision comes to life. Begin each supervision meeting, or team meeting, with a check in where individuals can share their biggest win or challenge they want help with. Celebrate those wins! And make time to brainstorm solutions to those challenges.

T is for Team. Creating teams based on mutual respect, communication, and fair treatment is needed for trust. Holding individuals accountable even when it is difficult is important. Without accountability, trust is broken. If some individuals are allowed to engage in behaviour that is less than the definition of shared success, then other team members will eventually resent it and often conflict results. By upholding team expectations in this way, team members will trust that you have their best interests at heart and will give more discretionary effort.

When trust is lacking in an organization, there will be more conflict and a lack of appropriate accountability. However, with higher trust comes increased staff engagement, reduced turnover and deeper dedication to your organization!

If you are struggling with T-R-U-S-T in your organization, let’s have a conversation and start to turn it around today.