Published on Tuesday, December 20, 2016
Trust. It takes years to build and seconds to break. It is an emotion we covet.
A leader may take trust for granted. By being in front of an audience, of course, these people trust the message. Why else would this person be leading? Is that the case? Do our teams and organization trust us?
The impact trust has on engagement is measurable. Stephen Covey, the author of Speed of Trust, says an engaged workforce is the primary driver of results. Trust has been linked with engagement. As trust goes up, so does engagement.
In one study, Covey states a 10% increase in trust has the same impact on employee engagement as a 36% increase in salary. Many organizations increase salaries to get employees to stay. In reality, there are many factors involved with employee dissatisfaction. Trust is a key factor.
Not only trust as a whole, but also the trust of an immediate supervisor is important for employee engagement. Who has the most influence on your job? Your direct boss. If you have a lack of trust, your engagement suffers along with many other areas of work.
How do project managers build such trust within their teams and organizations?
Susanne Jacobs, an employee motivation specialist, has developed a model for building trust within an organization. She has identified eight intrinsic drivers, and they are as follows:
1. Belong and connect
2. Voice and recognition
3. Significance and position
5. Learn and challenge
6. Choice and autonomy
7. Security and certainty
Each of these drivers can lead one of two ways, performance or neglect.
Take the fairness driver. If an employee feels you are fair to the entire team, this leads said employee to perform. He or she will deliver results based on the feeling of fairness. However, if that same employee would feel like you are treating some team members favorably, neglect may take place. Why work for someone who will not treat you fairly?
The same can be said for any one of the eight drivers. You must satisfy them to receive positive results. Turning a blind eye to them will result in employee neglect and maybe push back.
What effect does this trust have on our organization?
In 2009, Interaction Associates studied the effects of trust on organizations. They found organizations with high trust to have more effective leadership and better collaboration. The study, titled Building Trust in Business, also revealed high trust organizations:
· Have a strong sense of shared purpose and employee who work towards that purpose.
· Create cultures in which tolerance and cooperation are highly valued.
· Have leaders who coach rather than just manage.
· Have many people participate in making decisions.
The word purpose continues to pop up along with trust. Employees have trust when they feel a sense of purpose. Their words mean something. There is nothing worse than sitting in on a meeting where the team is collaborating without you. Your words get lost. You question your purpose.
As a project manager, giving that sense of purpose leads to trust which as we have seen means more than a salary increase.
Including many people in on decision making sounds more complicated than necessary. This driver means having other’s voices be heard. Of course, limit the actual decision makers, but create discussion around the decision. Get different viewpoints. Encourage diverse thinking.
What if your team is remote? How do you build trust then?
Ask. Listen. Share. Simple in concept yet difficult in execution.
Ask good questions. Details are emphasized on remote teams. If you need clarification, ask. These questions are not specific to your team either. Contractors, suppliers, stakeholders, and so on are also included in clarifications.
Listen to the answers. Many hear few listen. Focus your attention to the main point of the answer. What are they really saying? A classic construction deadline is “the end of the week.” It factors in wiggle room. You did not say Thursday at 5 pm. You said the end of the week. That deadline could be Thursday, or it could be Saturday.
Share your vision, knowledge, and ideas. Your mental image of the project may be different than the message you are delivering. Give others the ability to get inside your head. Projects and deadlines are difficult without secrets.
Finally, be human. Use body language, smile, apologize, forgive, care, and so on. A sincere, “How is your day?” can mean the world to an individual struggling with a task or project. Develop a relationship with your team. Again, ask, listen, and share.
Ask “How was your weekend?” then listen. You will hear your team’s interests. They will light up talking about going on a hike or playing with their kids. Your interest will show you care. That care turns into trust. And trust turns into performance.
About the author
Over the past ten years, Chris Cook has spent his career in the construction industry. He has a Bachelor’s of Science in Industrial Technology Management with an emphasis in Building Construction Management and Master’s of Science in Project Management. He is a certified PMP. Follow more of Chris's insights at his blog EntrePMeur.
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