Trust Builds Your Organization’s FutureFeb 16, 2023
- By Sophie Pinkoski
It’s been many years since the pandemic first changed the way we view the world. With it came an uncertainty for what the future holds, a notion we still grapple with today. Living with this uncertainty hanging over our heads for so long has meant putting off plans.
As a result, many have become hesitant to risk making long term plans, effectively leaving people wary of getting invested in new opportunities or ideas. This mindset can easily give way to cynicism, an inclination toward automatic distrust.
Our political climate has further created an us versus them mentality and while it’s wise to enter new situations with caution, there must be a middle ground between blind distrust and blind faith.
When it comes to leading your team, there are ways you can bolster their trust by creating a supportive environment they feel is worth investing their emotional and psychological energy in.
Without that trust built up over time, cynicism has a way of festering into a self-fulfilling prophecy and vicious cycle, creating further problems including division, burn out, and high turnover.
Here are ways to build trust among your team members to keep them engaged in the good work that they do for your organization:
Prepare for anything –– One of the biggest causes of cynicism in workers is losing perspective on their purpose. If they don’t know there are tangible, realistic goals to strive toward, they might disengage from projects entirely.
The key is to make plans for possible eventualities.
Prepare for both best and worst case scenarios so your team can adapt to any situation that comes their way. This encourages more innovative ideas to navigate challenges that might prevent projects from getting off the ground. With multiple options in your strategic plan, your team can pivot accordingly as things change. All of this maintains momentum and reminds your team that their work is meaningful and building to something important. Tracking their progress and celebrating wins along the way keeps that momentum going when it’s that much easier for everyone to see the big picture.
Promote a culture of collaboration –– Long before the pandemic, it may have been popular to encourage competition amongst peers to drive results, but this zero-sum tactic has led to toxic workplace culture. Largely, when internal competition is expected, team members are far less likely to work together on projects. This becomes clearer when the highest achievers are rewarded while stragglers are punished for falling behind.
When your team is encouraged to collaborate as opposed to being pitted against each other, they can lift each other up and apply a wider diversity of skills to multiple projects. This further develops a trusting environment and prevents cliques from forming.
Earn your team’s loyalty and trust –– A cynical mentality comes from distrusting people’s intentions. It’s therefore important as a leader to exemplify your organization’s mission and values.
When your actions reflect your promises, you prove to your team that you mean what you say.
If you treat them with trust and respect, they will do the same for you. Upholding your organization’ values through your decisions, actions, and behaviour goes a long way toward fostering goodwill with your team.
Empower and support career development –– One of the best things you can do to build trust with your team members is to offer career development. Beyond clearly communicating and strategizing with your team, offering development options incentivizes individuals to invest their time and energy in the organization.
Actively expressing your faith in them gives them the confidence and motivation to prove they can rise to the challenge.
Let them know what training and mentorship is available to them to further develop their existing skill set and build new ones. Give them the tools and resources to apply their skills in new ways that keeps them challenged and engaged.
With people’s priorities shifted toward their personal wellbeing, they’re far less likely to linger in a role they see no future in, especially if they feel they can’t put their trust in their leader. In a world of division and pandemic, our tendency is to assume the worst in people.
What we really need now is inspirational leaders who can remind us that working toward a better future is worthwhile.
Don’t Let Cynicism Undermine Your Workplace, Harvard Business Review
How to Overcome Complacency in the Workplace, Life Hack
Cynical Employees in 2022: Why?, LinkedIn