The Question of Trust

Trust can often be an illusive component in business. We have all been privy to empty conversations, vapid meetings, and glad-handing all void of true trust in the other person/persons in the room. Fear compounds this issue. When individuals are afraid of losing their positions, sharing information with other team members, or being exposed to further scrutiny in an increasingly competitive arena – they build an environment lacking trust with  either by omission of information and full transparency or comission through deliberate communication of false or misleading data.

Recently, I have come across several  articles offering their perspectives on transparency in leadership, building trust between and among teams, and fostering true alignment cross corporate divisions with trust being the core component to facilitate this. One, written by Christine Crandell, for Forbes, offered her insightful advice on how trust is the core of any thriving culture, and her ‘top ten’  steps to building and encouraging trust. These tips are not rocket science, yet, they are ‘spot on’ and serve as a salient reminder for us as individuals and leaders within our respective organizations.  They include:

  1. Keep Your Promises
  2. Never Tell Lies
  3. Keep Confidences
  4. Communicate as Fully as Possible
  5. Have No Favorites
  6. Challenge the Behavior – Not the Person
  7. Follow Through
  8. Listen Attentively
  9. Forgive Mistakes
  10. Don’t Talk Behind Backs

It is easy to forget these when the pressures of business grow and our own personal ambitions take over.  One thing I have observed and fervently believe is that the most successful leaders are the ones who are trustworthy, are fully transparent in their motives and intentions, and foster and reward trust in their respective teams. Many times integrating these simple behaviors become the marathon race, as often these ‘simple’  actions are tried and tested when a seemingly easier and faster path is offered. Yet, we remember Aesop’s fable of the tortoise and the hare and how that turned out!