Working Trusting Relationships

How many times have you heard the word TRUST around the office? How many times have you been trained on trust? It is one of those important building blocks to a successful working relationship between a manager and their people. I have participated in a few TwitterChats with #leadershipchat and we have discussed trust (and it keeps coming up on other topics as well). Giving this a bit more thought, why do people leave their jobs (or companies), besides the almighty dollars? From a personal perspective – I retired from my last job because of:

  • Lack of follow-through on commitments made.
  • Openness of communication.
  • Amount and availability of communications.
  • Incompetent or poor decision-making.
  • Incompetent job performance.

Maybe those examples hit home a bit. Are you experiencing them as well? It is always easy to point out a problem or run the other way.. Thinking back on my overall 28+ years, I have had to work through the above concerns many times. What did I do? What did our team do? What could you do? Here are some of my basic working relationship principles that I have tweaked over the years.

If you are a manager:

Believe in your team — their motives, knowledge and skills..

  • Spend some time getting to know each team member’s capabilities, interests and skills.
  • Understand your team’s strengths and weaknesses. Take advantage of the full capabilities of your team. Work to fix shortcomings.
  • Share information with team members that will allow them to understand their tasks and how they fit into the bigger picture.
  • Have faith in team members to set appropriate objectives. Let them do the doing..
  • Delegate decision-making authority: This one maybe a bit tough depending on your companies overall decision-making processes. Figure out what decisions go where – and share it with the team.
  • Negotiate realistic expectations, then have faith in team members’ ability to deliver what we get paid for.

Provide honest business communication..

  • Share the good, bad and ugly results.
  • No question – Tell the Truth – always; no sugar coating, no politics, no spin doctoring.

For the team (managers and teammates)

Demonstrate open, honest communication at all times..

  • Your word is your bond!
  • Share information that is important to others — no hidden agenda.
  • Explain reasons behind statements, requests and decisions.
  • Recognize healthy friction as a key to critical thinking, and respect another teammate’s right to disagree.
  • Criticize constructively by sticking to the issue and not getting personal. Try not to think why someone is doing something.

Make realistic commitments and keep them..

  • If you say it, then do it!
  • Do not overcommit. It is too easy to always say yes.. If you can’t do it, say so.
  • Admit you don’t know something. I would rather hear, “I don’t know. Let me get back to you.” Then some made up answer.
  • If you find, because of changing circumstances, you can’t keep your commitment, say so early and rework the commitment together.

Work together – you are already there..

  • Be responsive to one another’s needs by offering, and accepting assistance.
  • Speak up early – especially if it is bad news. Never shot the messenger! We just saved ourselves a bunch of time.
  • Always bring forth potential solutions rather than drop a bomb.

Is this the complete answer? No. I see this as a foundation. Level the playing field for yourself and your team…

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