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Trust: The Number One Component to Employee DevelopmentWhen was the last time you heard the words, trust me. Did you believe it? Probably not. Trust and confidence seem to be in high demand but short supply these days,  likely a result of recent economic times. Ironically, trust is the number one component to sustaining excellence. In the words of Suzanne Updegraff, author, business leader, and CEO, “There are hundreds of traits and characteristics that create a successful, fully functioning organization, but the number one component to sustaining excellence in today’s competitive marketplace is trust.”

So how do you build trust?

Suzanne goes on to tell the story of a team building training program that she recently took on. In questioning the client about the issues and needs for enhancing the team’s performance, she  commented that there were no problems. She hired Employee Development Systems, Inc. (EDSI) to conduct the training session because she wanted to eliminate any obstacles that might be on the horizon and build opportunities for future success. Within one hour of working with the team, I discovered the foundational problem — Lack of Trust. I’m not surprised that the senior team leader didn’t know the basic performance issue. No one trusted her enough to tell her what they were thinking or feeling.

Get involvement. The seeds of trust grow when you involve people in decision making. Even if they aren’t able to make final decisions, your colleagues support your decisions if they have had the opportunity to put their opinions into the decision-making mix.

What if you have already made the decision? Should you go through the motions, and pretend that you are involving others when the situation is already a forgone conclusion? No! It will backfire. People can see right through you! Making your team members feel conned will take away any trust level that you already have in place.

Be transparent. Help others see how you make decisions. You don’t have to share everything, especially because if the final decision is yours, you don’t want to jeopardize your position. Still, let people know that your considerations and timeline. You won’t be sorry.

Pay attention to relationships. We have said it before on the Employee Development Systems, Inc. blog, and we’ll say it again: People join companies, but leave managers. The more you pay attention to your relationships and nurture them, the more trust you will foster. It’s as simple as that -really!

Always follow through. If you say you’ll do something, then do it. This doesn’t mean that you need to crank up your schedule in order to fulfill every request that comes your way. Instead, become very considered about the commitments you make, so you have the energy and resources to follow through on every single one, big or small.

Think of employees as another breed of client. We support our clients and we support our employees, who will in turn, support our clients, as well. Our actions help them define their actions, and trust is the bedrock of that support.

Achieve Excellence Now

In the words of Hector Ruiz, CEO of AMD:

“Surround yourself with people of integrity, and get out of their way. In my adult years as a manager, Bob Galvin, the former CEO of Motorola, was my most influential leader. He told me, ‘A good leader knows he is doing a good job when he knows with certainty that he can say yes to anything his staff asks and feel totally confident that they will do the right thing.’ If you surround yourself with the right people who have integrity, and they all understand well the goals and objectives of the organization, then the best thing to do as a leader is to get out of their way. I use this advice quite a bit at work. The right people will feel far more pressure to perform well when they are trusted.”

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