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 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)

  1. Stop treating people like children. Delegate authority to qualified people – not tasks.
  2. Be transparent with responsibilities. Everyone needs to know everyone’s responsibilities.
  3. 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?

Bonus material:

The Chairman of NOKIA on Building Trust from the Middle (YouTube 2:19)

Trust is Given Not Earned (Leadership Freak)