Saturday, November 6, 2010

Building Trust Every Day - It's Important, It's Easy

Trust is an essential element of leadership.

Friendship & Trust

To me, there is a solid link as validated in some of my previous explorations where I cited the work of James M.Kouzes and Barry Z.Posner from The Leadership Challenge and discussed the absence of trust as note as one of five team dysfunction in my review of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable.

This post expands my reflection on trust from a couple of recent discoveries on the blogosphere. First, exploring the importance of trust in collaboration and work performance, and secondly, to offer easy quiet leader-like tips for trust building. You can work on trust every day.

The Importance of Trust

Bret L. Simmons in a post "Why We Trust" at the Leader Lab site, cites two compelling studies that link the role of trust to collaboration and general task and job performance. Two quotes from Bret's post summarize the study's findings:

Trust increased an individual’s task performance, risk taking behavior, citizenship behavior (doing more to help others at work), and decreased counterproductive behavior.

If teamwork is important in your organization, then should select and promote individuals with a high propensity to trust.

The Simmons post validates my previous thinking on the importance of trust. Good information from the LeaderLab. You can get more from Bret Simmons at his Positive Organizational Behavior site, both great leadership resources.

Building Trust

The importance of trust is clear. Now how do you build trust? Are there quiet leader-like approaches for building trust?

I discovered a very nice trust building tip list from the Thinking for a Change blog of Pascal Van Cauwenberghe. In the post, he summarizes a 2007 presentation from David Anderson titled, Building a high trust culture in your software engineering organisation.

In the post, Pascal suggests, "Do you want to work better, faster and get more satisfaction out of it? Increase the trust level in your team."

He offers a quiet leader-like list of tips for building trust, an actionable list that reminds me that you can work to build trust every single day.

Here is Pascal/David's tip list:
  • Trust begets trust
  • Be humble and respect the other
  • Vulnerability disarms
  • Apologize for poor results; take responsibility, even if you weren’t involved in the delivery of the poor results; promise better; deliver.
  • Keep delivering, regularly, predictably.
  • Deliver daily on your personal commitments; deliver daily or weekly on team commitments
  • Demonstrate competence; rehearse and practice for perfect delivery
  • Be transparent
  • Encourage learning from failure
  • Get rid of command & control
  • Build up a reputation
  • Define clear values and principles; let them guide decision making
I like this list. There is something on this list that you can work on every single day. The result of this daily attention will be the expansion of trust and the increase in job performance.

Thanks for reading. Please lead quietly and build trust every day.


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