Here are some things leadership experts agree companies do that cripple your leadership program and strategy by undermining employee trust. Answer yes or no to the questions below to test your trust leadership qualities:
- Does leadership in your organization forget to model what they say? (e.g. An organization says the most important asset is its people, but then they make changes that affect all employees without notice or input.)
- American aviation pioneer Wilbur Wright said, “A parrot talks much but flies little.” Does your leadership team make promises they can’t keep?(e.g.: Leaders keep talking about a better, fairer scheduling system that never materializes.)
- Does leadership tend to avoid dealing with conflict? This comes across in a false persona: “Everything is just great!”
- Does your organization guard and selectively disclose information? (e.g.: There are off-limit zones for some employees. Information is guarded and only a select few are in the know. Meetings happen behind closed doors escalating stress.)
- Does your organization discourage employees from using their own judgment? (e.g.: The organization always goes 'by the book.' Rules designed so that people don’t have to think about what they should do.)
- Does leadership ask for input and suggestions, then ignore them? (For example, a leader asks for suggestions on improving service. An employee offers two ideas and no one responds or brings it up again. Employees get the feeling that leadership is just going through the motions, and they really don’t want the input.) Note: Of course, you won’t use all ideas, but follow-up is essential. A leadership program should show you are listening.
- Does it seem like everything is monitored, from the number of sick days to productivity levels?
- Are employees “given” information such as changes in job, new policies and procedures and not included in the process? Note: A good leadership strategy is to share information consistently to soften the barriers between “us” and “them” thinking.
- Does your organization encourage competition among its members? Note: In a competitive workplace, employees will not share information to help one another succeed. Any leadership program where competition reinforces the notion that the end justifies the means will undermine your leadership strategy.
SCORE: If you answered yes to three or more of the questions above, then trust is likely affecting morale in your workplace.
DEFINING A TRUSTING WORKPLACE
When I am a keynote speaker doing a leadership expert program about creating trust in the workplace, these are the most common observations participants shared about trustworthy companies and leaders:
“She has never let me down.”
“They do what they say they will do.”
“I know the organization has my best interests in mind.”
“He knows what he’s talking about and admits it when he doesn’t.”