The Power of Trust

With each new generation there are notable changes. One such change is the lack of trust in authority. This lack of trust, whether it is deserved or not, certainly has consequences.

Stephen R Covey commented that:

“When the trust account is high, communication is easy, instant, and effective.”

We are always looking for ways to move around faster. Experiments are underway to look at newer forms of mass transportation that will make it possible to move quickly from one point to another. Their goal is to achieve a speed of 600 miles per hour. This will be done in a tube using a vacuum that makes frictionless travel a possibility. It sounds more science fiction than science fact, let’s see what happens.

Stephen R Covey is making the observation that communication will be faster, there will be less friction, if there is a higher degree of trust. I agree with him and would go as far as to say that without trust the speed is slower and the costs to any team are higher.

Have you ever made a mistake? As a leader when you make a mistake it can have an impact on the people you lead. Here’s the thing: if you have banked trust in your team then your mistake will still have an impact, but, because you have deposited trust, people are willing to forgive you and move on.

In fact, mistakes can be used to build trust. When we make mistakes, the temptation is to blame other people, and hope it isn’t noticed. Anything to get the focus off of what we have done. But the best thing to do in humility, is to admit your mistake, own it. Admit that you have messed up and then get on with clearing up any mess you have made. Brushing mistakes under the carpet can lead to an increase in lack of trust.

Let’s think about the cost and speed inherent in a lack of trust for a minute. If trust is low in a team then each team member will be cautious in relying on information that comes from the leader. They may be wondering: ‘are they telling me everything?’ In a place of low trust, interpersonal risk will be high in team member’s minds. ‘If I take this risk and it goes wrong will I be embarrassed, humiliated?’ Actions within the team will be slowed down by second guessing and fear.

Conversely, if trust is high, then you will automatically trust information flowing in the team and the intentions of the leader and your colleagues. You will act because you have the trust of your leader. Interpersonal risks are much reduced, and you are more engaged as a result.

Essentially, as Stephen M R Covey points out in his book The Speed of Trust, within teams, low trust leads to low speed and higher costs; high trust leads to higher speed and lower costs.

Which team would you prefer? As a leader what are you doing to build trust in your team?

Stay safe

Mark Billage

Mark Billage

Mark’s passion is to help realise individuals’ potential, be they leaders or team members, through empowering organisational culture. He has spent 7 years leading an organisation based in the non profit sector. In that time, he focused on creating a culture that enabled and empowered individuals, with the aim of seeing a high performing team better able to achieve the organisation’s mission.

Our Vision

To train and equip leaders to transform culture, build successful teams and organisations where everyone is seen, heard and valued for their unique contribution.

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