Last week’s column touted the benefits of employers focusing on trust and value to heighten happiness, and consequently greater production in the workplace. Studies are all well and good, but how does a company actually create that culture?
A good starting point is to understand what motivates people. One of the best books targeting that very topic is Daniel Pink’s ‘Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us’.
Specifically, Pink claims the secret to high performance and satisfaction in any area of your life is rooted in the “deeply human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world”. That certainly supports what I wrote last week, in that people need to take home the feeling that what they do adds value. Ironically, to empower and trust turns the ‘me’ into ‘we’ and creates a culturally robust team.
Back to the ‘how’ of creating trust in the workplace, the resounding theory is that it starts at the top. To that end, I’ve created the top five ways for leaders to create a culture built on a foundation of trust.
1. Uncompromised integrity. Walk the talk always and inspire your employees to do the same.
2. Unify with your organization’s mission, vision and values. Every decision, direction and strategy should circle back to being supported by your organization’s core values – for management and employees alike.
3. Clear, transparent and consistent communication. Communicate often. Have an open-door policy to encourage two-way communication. Honesty reigns so don’t lie. If you make a mistake, admit it. And be consistent.
4. Don’t be afraid to say you don’t know. If you don’t have an answer, find one. Or better yet, you’ve surrounded yourself with talent so engage them in the decisions. Invite feedback or new ideas and let them know the outcome.
5. Show gratitude. A simple thank you. Always give credit where credit is due.