The Issue of Trust

The issue of trust comes up so many times in business. Trusting staff is hard from the outset. It is a massive step for any business who decides to take on a member of staff and therefore the responsibility of paying them each month. Most start up business owners will have been in the position of having to pay their staff before they pay themselves, I know I have!  

I would say nearly all business owners start with the intention of wanting to trust their staff.  But something happens to cause them to start to mistrust. It could be they are late a couple of times, they start to have days off sick, start to make the same mistakes, or if they are working away from the office, the employer doesn’t quite know how that person is adding value to the business. 

Does that sound familiar at all?

The business starts to put in processes! These processes are designed to stop the above issues from happening and are done with good intentions, some are completely viable. But, and it’s a BIG BUT, you are missing the one most vital part. That vital part is dealing with the person or people who are causing you to doubt their performance within the role you are employing them to do.

So what happens next?

I’ve seen many businesses spending far too much time and energy ensuring people follow a process because they didn’t trust their staff to fulfil the roles they were employed to do. And when I say “I have an issue with trust within my team”, this tends to be only 1 or 2 employees that are causing the issues. They don’t want to deal with the real issues or root cause as it might upset others or seems too difficult to fix. The culture that it creates is a negative one and it creeps into every part of the business and stifles growth and creativity. When people feel like you don’t trust them by putting in processes, they in turn don’t trust you and a downward spiral ensues.

It is far more effective to create a culture where people have autonomy and the ability to be creative within it and therefore enabling them to contribute to growing the business. 

How can you do this?

–         Reflect on who you are as a leader first – do you give your staff the opportunity to feedback to you? Are you willing to accept other’s views, even if they aren’t 100% positive? This is hard and you need to practice how you do this. Are you lacking any skills to e.g. listening, communication & coaching skills?

–         Get your staff engaged in the business – the more they are engaged in the business the better. Have monthly meetings that bring staff together.  Get them to share what they’ve done in the previous month and what they are going to do the following month. Give them a platform to be creative.

–         For new members of staff provide an induction process, even if you are a small business. By getting the new employees to understand that you as a business will trust them first, sets the scene on how things are done in your business. Also, by showing them the culture within the organisation is a fair one and people don’t take advantage of that trust, then the working relationship will be a positive one.

–         If there is a person who isn’t doing the job you are paying them to do, give them that feedback as soon as possible (see my giving feedback article on how to do this)

–         When you put a process in place ask the question “What problem is this going to solve”? If it isn’t really necessary, don’t put it in place.

If you want to chat through the issue of trust in more detail, please do give me a call on 01492 550401 or contact me here