Sunday, September 30, 2012

Leadership Wisdom: Trust is a Two-Way Street

Trust is a two-way street, which plays a key role in the effective functioning of both society and organizations.

Modern business and human society become over-complex and inter-dependent, therefore, companies that foster a trusting culture will have a competitive advantage in attracting talent & harmonizing business relationship. No matter what kind of organization you manage, trust is an integral component of your brand.

 Trust-based management concentrates on designing appropriate incentive structures and reducing barriers to motivate appropriate action and inspire high-performance result. 

1. Trust is Two Way Street

I cannot trust a man to control others who cannot control himself. Robert E. Lee

  • TRUST Starts with respecting:  Leader need show staff that you respect them, first, understand what they care, trust them in a safe environment. Help them not to fail, and if they do, show yourself to be trustworthy by supporting them. That will motivate them more than just throwing out some platitudes about trust as the opposite of micro-managing;  trust, but verify.
  • Optimal Level of Trust – People may have different value systems for trust, leading in such an environment requires acting in ways that provide clear reasons to decide to trust.  No blind trust or trust too little. There is no returning to the days when organizations expected—and received—unconditional loyalty. Communicate, Delegate, Trust and Hold Accountable.
  • TRUST is Bi-Directional: Trust isn't one way, the employee needs to trust management too. How much will you tolerate mistakes as part of learning? Does your staff feel safe to try something innovative? When employees are allowed to develop and do the job for which they were hired, without micromanagement, they become more self-motivated and rely less on external motivational factors. 
  • Four Elements to Build & Maintain Trust:
a)  Shared Expectation & Sufficient Motivation by all parties
            b) Incentive Structure & optimal Process
            c) Requisite Capabilities to deliver against expectations
            d) Mechanism placed to warn any potential shortfalls in performance

  • TRUST is Two-Way Street via Alphabetic Root:
      1. The Trustworthy Management:
        T: Thoughtful
        R: Respectful
        U: Uplift Spirit
        S: Supportive
        T: Thankful

      1. The Trustworthy Staff
        T: Trustworthy
        R: Reliable
        U: Up-growth
        S: Self-Motivated
        T: Teamwork 
Trust, but verify. Ronald Reagan

2. Trust Takes Empathy

How can people trust the harvest, unless they see it sown?  ~Mary Renault
  • Empathy: More deeply understand your employees, what's his/her value, priority, the way to think and do things, the lens to see the world & work and what they see; one of the most important functions of a leader is to find the right places for each member.
  • Fairness: Treat them same by treating them differently, trust needs to come from both mind and heart, set the guideline, but always trust employees for the detailed solution. To be able to do that, you need to show leadership and build on your relationship with them. Be humane and fair while showing competence and character.
  • Openness: Always open for new ideas, trust means to embrace divergent thought, respect the difference, then converge them into fresh ideas:
      a) Respect to individual means open-door approach to value new ideas, 
      b) Always appreciate for members’ contribution;

  • Motivation: trust could also create a great positive impact on a team member. However, not all people have the same motivations, via intrinsic motivations, staff can unleash potential, and it means knowing what motivates them.  Give them trust and they will give you loyalty.

 3. Trust Takes More Logic Steps

 When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don't throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineerCorrie Ten Boom 

TRUST takes breadth and depth of collective cognizance & effort to build up a more creative working environment. Here are some logical scenarios:
1).  First Direct them - Lead by example - Show how it is done
2). Then Supervise - Help them become independent and gain confidence
3). Then Manage to help them understand how you think,
4) Then Mentor Guide so they align with goals while using independent thinking
5)  Then Delegate - Complete Trust
a) tell staff WHAT & WHEN, but encourage them to pursue WHY and HOW;
b). share the resource, provide the guideline, but give staff freedom to find answers;
c) shape the right business problem need be solved, let staff frame the solution.
d) remind the staff of potential pitfalls, but tolerate the calculated risks;
e) trust but verify; lead, not micro-manage. Trust the team with clear deliverable and alignment;

Trust is a measure of the quality of a relationship—between people, groups, or between people and an organization; and trust is a two-way street, which plays a key role in the effective functioning of both society and organizations.

The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them. -Ernest Hemingway 


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