Trust as defined in the dictionary as “firm belief in the reliability” is perceived as an intangible. It’s a sensitive and crucial driver of success which is hard to build. For leaders, it is essential from three perspectives, business, culture, and people. Leaders can utilize trust to build the gap between business results and the human need for connection. In a masterclass on trust in a People Matters event 'Are you in the list', Sanjay Dugar, Director- Client Management from C2C Organizational Development shared how trust can be made tangible.
He said “Trust begins with you” and is reciprocal. Based on a research done by the Reinas, Michelle, and Dennis Reina he shared the three dimensions of trust, the three “Cs”, which are:
Three dimensions of trust
Trust of character
This reflects dependability, the degree to which someone can count on you and the support you give to others. This dimension of trust is foundational.
Trust of communication
The willingness to share information (not confidential information) with others, the channel you choose to communicate a concern and the art of giving and receiving constructive feedback is what defines trust of communication.
Trust of capability
Capability here refers to the skills and competencies you have to perform your jobs and responsibilities. In case of a leader, the art of distributing the right tasks to right people, providing appropriate training and the openness to accept and take inputs from others reflects trust of capability.
In an organization, these three components of trust exist in different levels. It’s possible for a team to have a high level of one and a lower level of another. And if the low levels of trust are not rebuilt then the others will also erode. The good news is that all of the components can be developed and built. While each of these dimensions can be built there are five areas where leaders generally struggle.
Top 5 Areas of Struggle for a leader
1. Give constructive feedback, timely and with intent to help
2. Give people the benefit of the doubt
3. Provide coaching
4. Help employees to learn new skills
5. Challenge employees to learn and grow
While leaders struggle in these five areas, the good news is that there are ways in which a leader can build the trust and imbibe it in the culture. Here are those five trust-building mantras which might help you:
Top 5 trust building activities
1. NOT shooting the messenger who brings bad news
2. NOT looking for ways to blame others
3. NOT gossiping
4. BE sincere and candid
5. KEEP confidential information confidential
When trust is given then a lot of things start to change automatically. Keeping this in mind, here are two cases of companies where the transformation of the whole organization was observed by using the art of building trust:
Case of an international manufacturing plant
One of the manufacturing beer plants out of 12 plants was the lowest producer. The cause was lack of trust. The plant manager values people and relationships, but the employees felt that he is only concerned about bottom line results. Employees were very skilled but the bonding lacked and affected the morale productivity. Using the team trust scale the cause of the problem was identified and with the help of trust building solutions they were actually able to turn things around and move over to the 1st place from the 12th. The deep understanding of the problem led them to win the coveted manufacturing excellence award two years in a row. And for five years they kept that position consistent.
Case of a global interactive company headquartered in India
In a closer to the home scenario, a global interactive gaming company headquartered in India was struggling with the attrition of their key employees, qualities of services and timeliness of deliveries. What was observed there was real attrition as employees who were leaving were not leaving for another opportunity. While the leaders thought they were doing a great job the findings of the test suggested otherwise. Lack of “collaborative” working and a strong sense of “perceived bias” were observed to be increasing. Hence, a gap between reality and expectations was realized. With an increase in awareness of key focus areas, they were able to rebuild trust. The increase in engagement scores validated that. After this experience, the leaders said that they learned the art of working together.
These cases suggest that awareness of trust is fundamental for a leader. From above discussion, it can be concluded that building trust is critical as it facilitates the leader to build and rebuild all the three dimensions of trust- the trust of communication, the trust of character and trust of capability.