How to Resuscitate Trust

There is a lot of distrust in many organizations right now. Disagreement over pandemic mask and vaccination requirements, the turmoil of massive attrition and transition, and hybrid situations have contributed to an atmosphere of uncertainty and distrust.

Managers and on-site employees distrust that WFH workers are actually doing their jobs. WFH employees distrust that their managers will recognize their value and support their advancement. New managers worry about how to establish trust with their employees. Seasoned managers worry about how to introduce new employees to established teams in a way that creates a trusting team environment.

Luckily, there is an equation for creating trust, thanks to David H. Maister, Charles H. Green, and Robert M. Galford in their book, The Trusted Advisor:

Trustworthiness = Credibility + Reliability + Intimacy ÷ Self-Orientation

  • Credibility is the words we speak and our credentials.
  • Reliability is the perceived consistency and integrity of our actions.
  • Intimacy is the safety or security people feel when they share something with us.
  • Self-Orientation is what we focus on, ourselves or the other person.

Following this equation, I will feel others are trustworthy when I am satisfied they are competent (credibility), follow through on their promises and commitments (reliability and integrity), treat what I tell them with respect and confidentiality (intimacy), and focus on our shared interests and goals in a considerate rather than a selfish manner (self-orientation).

This is a good equation to establish, maintain, and resuscitate trust in the workplace.

Managers and on-site employees can trust that WFH employees are actually doing their jobs based on their work output, which shows their reliability and integrity.

WFH employees can trust that their managers will recognize their value and support their advancement based on their own and their managers’ reliability, integrity and consideration.

New managers can establish their trustworthiness by demonstrating their competence, credibility, reliability, integrity, confidentiality, and cooperative intentions.

Seasoned managers can help new and seasoned employees create a trusting team environment by clarifying each team member’s value, giving them opportunities to demonstrate their competence and reliability, and promoting nonwork activities that encourage the development of informal communication and collaboration.

Warren Bennis said, “Trust is the lubrication that makes it possible for organizations to work.” Using the trust equation can help resuscitate that trust.

Question: What has your organization done to establish, maintain, or resuscitate trust?

#trust #trustworthiness #trustequation

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