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Thoughts From Our Director

Fostering Trust in the Workplace

My last blog post revolved around creating a sense of belonging and significance for employees.  This is done by having a positive work culture.  There are many ways to create a positive work culture, but one of those key components is trust.  Trust develops when we are open with one another. During the summer of 2012, I enjoyed watching the men’s gymnastics Olympic competition. The announcers often remarked how this team of young men supported one another throughout the Olympic trials and during at the events in London. The theme was, “I’ve got your back.” No, they didn’t take home the gold medal, yet they are still among the world’s top athletic teams. This doesn’t happen without open communication and trust.

How do you foster trust in your workplace?

People look to the top of the company and follow their example. Remember…even telling your administrative assistant – “Tell them I’m not here” to someone you don’t want to talk to – sets up a culture that its is alright to lie. We can again point to the similarity between children and employees when it comes to creating trust. People will evaluate and copy the actions of their boss (think parent) quicker than your words. As Benjamin Franklin said, “Well done is better than well said.”

Many years ago, Dr. Seuss wrote a delightful story called The Sneetches. Seuss begins with, “Now, the Star-Belly Sneetches / Had bellies with stars. / The Plain-Belly Sneetches / Had none upon thars.” As the story unfolds, we see the Sneetches with stars believing they are superior to those without, until a man by the name of Sylvester McMonkey McBean appears with his Star On machine. By now, you may be thinking, What does Dr. Seuss and his Sneetches have to do with my business?  When it comes to retention, quite a bit. One lesson we learn from this story is that everyone has value and everyone is unique. What do you do as an employer to recognize the unique contribution people make to the success of your business?

One final question to ponder in developing a place where people want to come to work is:

How do you cultivate opposing views and opinions in your business?

The answer is with purpose. About a year ago, we hired a new therapist. She had a long career in manufacturing before returning to school and gaining her Master’s in Social Work. One of the things I appreciate most about her is her ability to see situations from a different perspective and her willingness to share that perspective with our team. If you don’t have someone on your team who can take a different view, look for it in a trusted advisor.

As a business owner or manager, part of your work is to get the job done through the people you’ve hired. It’s work that requires a combination of technical know-how and skill with vision, compassion, honesty and trust to create an environment where people can contribute to the common good and share in the rewards of a job well done.

What are your thoughts?  Please share them below.

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