Most company leaders want everyone in their organization to embrace the idea that they are part of a team. People may have different job descriptions and different positions in the hierarchy, but in the end, everyone is a vital cog in the machine.
But in order to develop a sense of team, you have to develop a sense of trust that takes root at every level within your organization. Your people have to see that you are not only communicating, you are communicating the full truth on matters that affect their jobs. They need to see that you are engaged in the business, and value their input and opinions. Over the past year, Smart Business Orange County has talked to a number of leaders about developing trust with employees. Here is what three of them had to say.
“It’s critically important in that situation that you let folks know that you are the leader, but you aren’t going to do this all by yourself. This isn’t Moses laying down the Ten Commandments. You have to let folks know that you’re there for them, that you’re here to serve them and that you want them to buy in to what you’re doing and trust you in leading them. But you can’t force it. You have to figure out a way to get them to want to believe in you and what you’re trying to accomplish. That’s the type of trust that helps you move a business forward.”
Matt Carter, president, Sprint Global Wholesale Solutions Group
“If you’re going to provide support to employees, you have to see what their needs are. Don’t guess what their needs are, go out there, talk to them and ask them. Feel it and live it. Don’t lose sight of the fact that, in business, it comes down to the customer interaction. So you always have to know what it is you do, and what you can do better in terms of providing guidance and support.”
John Fuller, president and CEO, The Johnny Rockets Group Inc.
“The questions and answers are important, because if somebody has a question, what it’s doing is bringing it to the forefront. If one person in the organization has a question or comment, undoubtedly others have it too. It could be as broad as, ‘Where are we going as a company?’ or as narrowly focused as, ‘I don’t like the food in the cafeteria.’ But in the end, by having anyone able to ask any question they like, when you answer it, it’s giving everybody in the organization the ability to recognize the rationale for what you’re doing. That is what builds trust.”
Steven Moreau, president and CEO, St. Joseph Hospital of Orange
Your employees need to believe in you.
Don’t guess about the needs of your people.
Solicit feedback, and then act on it.