18/02/2015 - 05:05

Trust issue a matter of choice

18/02/2015 - 05:05


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What should managers do if they do not trust one of their team?

Trust issue a matter of choice
TRUST: Micromanagement takes up an employer’s valuable time and leads to resentment on behalf of an employee. Photo: iStockphoto

The absence of trust is a corrosive influence on workplace morale and performance, and a damning state of affairs – no matter which way it is viewed.

As an employer, if you cannot trust one of your employees you have one of two choices – either get rid of them (with sufficient evidence and, of course, the right way) or learn to trust them.

The issue of 'time' is often raised in my discussions with colleagues on the subject of trust; as in 'sometimes it takes time to earn trust'.

I disagree.

If you have recently recruited a new employee, but have not yet learned to trust that person, surely you are saying that you have no faith (or trust) in your recruitment process.

However, assuming the recruitment process is robust and you are confident that the new person is, in fact, right for the position, then you must trust that person from day one. From that point, they should be trusted to achieve their results their way. They will not perform every task the same way as you, however as long as they are working within company standards they must be allowed to be themselves.

Given freedom and autonomy, people will rise to meet the challenge.

Failure to demonstrate trust will leave you with a lack of confidence that the required outcomes from the position are not going to be forthcoming. From the employee's point of view, they will be left feeling dissatisfied – with the new position, the organisation and with you, as employer. No good will come of this.

A lack of trust in an employee plays out with the employer (or supervisor) spending an inordinate amount of time checking on them, looking over their shoulder and following up on any work they have completed. The employee knows they are being micromanaged. How can they possibly perform at their best under these circumstances?

To add further injury, the time spent micromanaging is time that should otherwise spent; other tasks required to meet business goals will not be done, or be delayed, causing business performance to decline.

Recently, I have seen an example of an employer who recruited a person in a managerial position, but did not have a real trust in his ability to perform all of the tasks required. As a result, when it came to a strategy session early in his engagement, the owner said that the new manager would not be involved because it was 'too early'. The outcome of this is that the new manager does not have a clear picture of the vision for the business and is having trouble coming to terms with decisions that have to be made with the long term in mind.

How can he be expected to implement strategy when he is not privy to that strategy? Of course, this is nonsense.

The process of developing trust and building stronger relationships comes back to another topic that I – and many other contributors – have discussed previously. Communication.

Verne Harnish (Mastering the Rockefeller Habits) put it to us in a workshop; the KPIs of a CEO should be to ensure that all of their managers have the resources and support to ensure they can achieve their own KPIs. Once that is in place – which requires regular, robust and focused meetings – the CEO's job is to strengthen relationships with the key customers.

To add weight to importance of trust it is important to hold regular, robust and focused meetings. This is the communication to which I refer. Building a strong bond through strong communications develops a relationship based on trust.

As a result, the CEO (or owner) is confident that individuals will achieve required outcomes, the business performs well and the employee knows that they are trusted, appreciated and that they are making a positive contribution. And this is the greatest motivational force of all.

So the recommendations for business owners are:

· recruit for a cultural fit;

· have confidence in your process;

· have faith in your judgement;

· trust your employee; and

· get out of their way and let them achieve results.

If, after this, you still have no trust, and there is evidence the person cannot be trusted, they must go. And when this happens, you need to have an urgent review of the recruitment process.


John Mathew

Switch Directions for Business



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