Trust in the work environment seems like it would be a no-brainer. Most people probably believe: “You hired me, so I’m assuming you think I can do the job you need me to get done.” Right? But somehow, building trust is one of the biggest challenges faced by leaders, managers, and individual contributors. In some cases, the CEO doesn’t fully trust her executive team who are supposed to be her “trusted advisors,” or a functional head doesn’t feel he can trust his people to do the job without a lot of micromanaging. Saying you trust someone and giving them the skills, autonomy, and space to do the job is much more difficult, particularly if, at the end of the day, you’re ultimately the one who will be accountable for the success of the project or task. And maybe you don’t even realize that’s at the heart of the challenge you’re facing when your team doesn’t seem to be “getting it done.”

So as a leader in the business, how do you build trust in your organization? There are four key ways:

  1. Create Safe Havens – make it safe for people to say what’s really going on in the business
  2. Share Vulnerability – address key truth statements and establish new behavior ground rules to address those truth statements in a positive way
  3. Find Swim Buddies – create “partners” to hold each other accountable for behavior changes
  4. Develop Behavior Scorecards – build behaviors into a business scorecard and develop an ongoing process for measurement and improvement
March 19, 2013


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