Do you trust your employees? A better question is whether they trust you. High-performing teams require trust at all levels of the organization.
A lack of trust limits innovation and collaboration. It keeps good ideas, good processes, and good people from becoming better. Without trust, people are unwilling to take risks.
Sadly, trust is often lacking, especially as you go down the organization. A survey of 33,000 people in 28 countries found that 1/3 of employees didn’t trust their employer. Almost 2/3 of executives trust their organizations compared to less than half of staff-level people surveyed. Workers said they trust their peers more than their executives.
When we talk about trust in the workplace, we normally think about employees or managers being reliable, doing what they said they would do, and being competent in their job. Hannah Price, in her blog for Jostle.me, calls this “practical” trust. An organization can’t run without it.
There is another level of trust. Price calls is “emotional” trust. This is when people believe you are on the same team, support each other, and have some level of vulnerability. You have each other’s backs. Emotional trust is where performance kicks into another gear. Performance requires belief that the leaders trust and support their teams.
With emotional trust, people are willing to take risks. They feel safe to propose or try something new or different. They are comfortable challenging how things are done. They know – they trust – that questioning or evening trying and failing, if done for the right reasons, won’t end their careers. People are willing to step up and take on new responsibilities.
If your team isn’t performing at its potential or innovation is missing, a lack of trust may be the root cause. Building trust starts with the leaders. It won’t happen overnight, and it won’t happen unless you intentionally create it. High-performing teams require trust.