4 Ways to Build Trust When You’re in the Middle
When trust goes down cost goes up. (Speed of Trust)
Less than 50% of front-line employees trust the company. (World Economic Forum)
#1. Don’t complain about higher ups.
Spend more time seeking the best interest of people close to you and less time complaining about higher ups.
Shared contempt builds strong bonds. The temptation to complain about the boss is profound. If you hate the boss and I hate the boss I feel like I can trust you.
Higher ups might be out of touch but complaining about them widens the gap.
Complaining about higher ups ends up kicking you in the pants. You might not like their plan, but it’s your job to execute the plan.
Complain TO higher ups, not about higher ups.
#2. Extend trust if you want to build trust.
Trust people if you want people to trust you. Bob Chapman said, “Trust is given, not earned.” (Everybody Matters)
Implement trust-building policies. “When you look at policies from the perspective of the employee, are they designed to engage employees or to protect the organization from them?” (HBR)
- Stop treating people like children. Delegate authority to qualified people – not tasks.
- Be transparent with responsibilities. Everyone needs to know everyone’s responsibilities.
- Help people get where THEY want to go. Provide development and coaching opportunities.
#3. Don’t play favorites.
Live by principles, not best friends. Trust isn’t personal, it’s about doing the right thing consistently.
#4. Do the ‘right’ thing.
The ‘right’ thing may end up being the ‘wrong’ thing, but everyone needs to know you’re committed to do the ‘right’ thing.
You can’t trust a leader who places personal interest above the interest of others.
Effective leaders are known for doing the right thing, not for taking sides.
What erodes trust in organizations?
How might people in the middle build trust?
The Chairman of NOKIA on Building Trust from the Middle (YouTube 2:19)
Trust is Given Not Earned (Leadership Freak)
Hi Dan and all,
Really appreciated this morning’s post – especially point #2 – extending trust. Being open about everyone’s responsibilities is a clarifying idea. It’s a warning to management when employees feel they can’t look under the hood and see the workings of their own organization. I’m sure I’ll refer to this post a few times this week. Cheers !
Thanks Cate. Extend trust is huge challenge for some, especially control freaks. Maybe that’s why I have to keep learning this one.
I wonder how many people feel dis-empowered because of secrecy in organizations. Transparency might be painful at the beginning, but it’s worth it…. as long as we expect people to act like grown ups.
Hello, Dan. Perhaps your readers might consider that continued Trust is bestowed upon, and towards, those who are Trustworthy. Sometimes, the most Trustworthy individuals among us are not deemed to be so by those who have yet to learn that Trust emerges more freely from those who are also Trustworthy themselves.
Thanks Russell. Thanks for bringing up the topic of continued trust. If you violate trust, how can others continue trusting you?
Extending trust to someone one is their opportunity to rise up.
The other aspect of this is giving people second chances. That’s how we extend trust.
All relationships whether professional, or personal are built on trust. If you do something to erode trust, the relationship will be rocky at best and may not be recoverable. Honesty is the foundation on which trust is built. Without honesty one cannot have integrity, and without those two things you can not have trust.
I recently saw an idiom that described integrity this way:
Integrity is choosing courage over comfort; choosing what is right over what is fun, fast, or easy; and choosing to practice our values rather than simply professing them.
My father (may God rest his soul) though lacking formal education and unable to read or write, possessed a PhD in Morals and Values. He drilled in his 3 children, of which I am the youngest, his 4 core principles:
1.) Work Hard
2.) Pay your bills
3.) Tell the truth
4.) Stand up for ‘right’
If more of us followed Dad’s advice, this world would be a far better place. Thanks for helping kick start a great memory of him during this Father’s Day week!
Thanks Tom. I’m so thankful you shared your father’s morals and values.
I find your recollection and appreciation of your father inspiring. I had a dad who taught me to love books, work hard, love my wife, and have grit. He didn’t say much, he lived it every day.
Trust is our biggest issue. As the supervisor of middle managers I trust them all to make good decisions. They don’t trust each other. How do I get them to trust one another more?
Thanks Emily. In your role the necessity of trust is essential. How can you move forward as a leader if you don’t trust people. In this sense, trust creates a bigger future.
Helping others trust each other is a fascinating question. I’m going to mull this over.
Emily and I have the same question. There tends to be an issue with people making assumptions about one another. This causes a reluctance to trust. Glad you are mulling it over, Dan!
transparency in conversations requires the courage to be open and to ask questions even when being a little fearful of the answers. I so appreciate your emphasis on the building of trust that does in fact open doors to the clarity that removes the temptation to make assumptions. I love Miguel Ruiz’s book The Four Agreements including “Don’t Make Assumptions.” In education I found that the perception of administrators playing favorites wreaked havoc among many teachers. My favorite principals were always those who walked their talk of remembering that our prime objective centered on student welfare. Thanks for your always inspiring messages Dan. Positively, Pauline