Culture

Building trust and gaining influence

Ingrid Brown

When talking about building more confidence in business - are we really just talking about building more trust?

I can’t help noticing on LinkedIn and in recent corporate narratives, a proliferation of articles and inspirational quotes about being more human in business. How has this come about? And is it really more to do with the value of trust to all of us, and being able to trust more?

Trust is that thing we only seem to notice when it’s not there. When trust has been built, we act positively and feel more secure, but when it’s not there as humans it fills us with feelings of anxiety and stops us wanting to do things.

In light of so much business transformation, Brexit angst, dishonest CEOs leaving behind reputational damage, is it any wonder employees are struggling to trust the organisations they go to work for each day?  

If we know that trust can make us feel more optimistic and hopeful and mistrust makes us feel the opposite, how do you redress the balance in the working environment?

We all know ultimately that in our social worlds, speaking the truth, displaying integrity and selfless acts of kindness are ways to build more trust in the world. As our working and social lives therefore converge perhaps it is having the courage to adopt these same human behaviours to help create a safer working space where people can trust each other and the leaders they follow.

Just a few small changes we can individually bring to our working environment to help build a circle of trust that everyone can thrive in:

1.    Speaking honestly can open the door for others around you to do the same. This doesn’t mean being personal or cruel, it can also mean being able to have those difficult conversations openly in a safe environment as opposed to in the corridors.

2.    Offering to do something meaningful without a selfish expectation, payback and no recognition?

3.    Giving a difficult colleague some credit and positive feedback. After all they could be difficult because they feel undervalued and mistrusted.

4.    As a manager or leader willingly foregoing your bonus so that your team are instead rewarded for their hard work?

5.    Being open to work on a project or initiative outside of your role to contribute to the wider business.

Building trust is a collective responsibility