In follow-up to my first post on ethics, I delve into the relationship of trust and its fundamental importance and necessity in creating an ethical workplace and environment.
You cannot have a growing relationship without trust. Trust is the foundation of leadership and without it you will not enable growth or value for yourself, the workplace or the consumer.
As individuals, we have all experienced a relationship where there is no trust. That feeling in your stomach when you question the intentions of another. You can become fixated on how to plan or counter in the event the person or people you don’t trust try something that could undermine you. Your effectiveness and abilities are replaced with strategic planning of the negative kind.
Now, imagine a workplace in which trust does not exist. Where everyone is acting on the defensive. How effective, efficient and productive is that workplace when as much as 20% if not more of their time is lost and affected by this environment.
We see evidence increasing in the requirements of people both within the workplace and as consumers demanding a more trusting approach, more transparency and respect. Not because they demand it, because:
- As a workplace they have proven it and worked for it
- As a consumer they have invested in it
All to often an untrustworthy act is met with a “masses” approach that immediately impacts everyone due to the actions of one or a small few.
Organisations hiding or denying the truth, putting spin on the truth or straight out lying about it, only for it to all come out later in the wash.
I now reference back to a statement I made in Part 1 Ethics post only involving trust.
To understand and create a trustworthy standard we must break it down to the individual.
We live as individuals, not a machine. The definitions or meaning does not change when we walk from the outside world into a business.
If outside of work a person comes across someone they do not trust, they remove themselves from the environment. This is also the same in the workplace, but with more devastating effects, as they effectively remove their mind before their body. Within a business, the person in the workplace that has developed mistrust for a colleague or leader will not simply pack and leave in most cases;
1) They may have obligations outside of work that they cannot just walk away from or they feel as though they can tough it out.
2) In staying in the environment, their thoughts, efforts and energy are re allocated to the trust issue, to help them fight through it, defend it and make it work.
3) The re allocating of thoughts, efforts and energy mean that their desired work is not receiving what it should and reduces the efficiency and productivity of the person.
4) The individual’s wellbeing begins to suffer. Creating greater pressure on themselves as well as pressures on others in the workplace as they try to maintain productivity.
5) Work pressures of the individual spread into their personal life
6) Other workplace relationships begin to feel distrust as comments are made and feelings expressed.
7) Consumers could start to see or hear thoughts or feeling of others, resulting in confidence being reduced.
8) The cycle now begins again with these individuals.
The cycle is vicious in its effect, ultimately the individual leaves or is released, leaving behind how many more in the same position or feeling of distrust?
Distrust is a virus; it will spread, mutate and attach itself to a new host if it is not isolated.
The large amount of damage inflicted internally and the cost to the business difficult to measure when you take into account lost:
7) Employee Wellbeing
8) Employee Relations
9) HR Costs
10) Re Employment Cost – new employees
You must approach trust to the individual not the masses. When you have trust, you have a future, one that will create an environment of positivity and encouragement, productivity and wealth.
Where to start?
Linda Fisher Thornton, a leader in the field of ethics & trust and Author of “7 Lenses, Learning the Principles and Practices of Ethical Leadership” recently outlined in her recent blog, “10 Thing Trustworthy Leaders Do”.
Lead With Positive Values (In Every Situation)
- Acknowledge Complexity (And Help People Deal With It)
- Demonstrate and Expect Respectful Behavior (Even When It’s a Challenge)
- Know Their Own Mindsets and Assumptions (And Be Willing to Change Them)
- Show People They Care (In Big and Small Ways) (Click Here)
- Think Long Term (Always Doing What’s Most Ethical in the Long Run)
- Extend an Open Invitation to Talk (About Ethics, About Bad News, About Good News)
- Show They Care (About People and the Success of the Group)
- Communicate Clear Ethical Values (And Live Them Every Day)
- Contribute to the Well-Being of Those They Lead (Including Reducing Stress)
Linda has provided 10 important questions we can ask ourselves in our endeavor to be revered leaders, which in turn will create revered businesses.
Trust begins with all of us, but as leaders we should be willing to take the first step.
Live the dream,
Note: Click on the image (7 Lenses) to be directed to “7 Lenses” at the Amazon Book Store!