Have you ever thought about how you behave or talk around someone you don’t trust? You are more guarded and aware of what you say or do. In fact, you may even decline to say things or do things because of that lack of a trust relationship. Let’s put that in context of work – how much do you hold back if you are unsure of your position within the company? I know my level of effort is decent but not stellar if I feel my work is not valued or if the work is with a team or leader I don’t trust. There is a direct relationship between employee engagement in their company or their work and the trust employees feel at work.
Think of a time when you were truly inspired or interested in a project. It doesn’t have to be work-related. How much did you care about that work? How much effort did you put forth? What was the quality of the work you did? In the environments where we are energized and totally committed to the task, Stephen Covey says we ‘volunteer’ our best efforts. I think he’s right! I know that my best efforts are always put forth when I feel appreciated and that my contribution makes a difference. How can we maximize that level of commitment to all of our tasks? Not everything in life is fun. Leadership is how the gap is bridged.
Leaders have to work with their teams and build up the trust relationships all the time so when the not-so-fun stuff comes along, the team knows that it’s a group effort and the work is still value-added. Building trust takes time so leaders have to work on it every day so down the road they have the credibility to take on projects that might be tough. This long-term trust helps the team to raise their level of engagement and level of performance so every project gets their best efforts.
CEO, The Professional Development Team