Last time I wrote about how adjustments in communication style can help someone avoid being relegated to “blah blah blah” status in the office.
For executives, underlying the need for effective communication is the bedrock “must” to be truly trusted by your colleagues, your team, and your clients.
You cannot overcome a distrustful audience through style tweaks. Establishing and gaining trust is fundamental for success.
Simply being honest and “doing the right thing” are obvious places to start, but for top-level executives in a complex business environment, they are not enough. The silence of distrust is often the elephant in the room you must acknowledge and respond to. As you consider how others in the office may perceive you, here are some methods for raising the bar on your own personal trust meter.
Own the failure — If the team’s efforts go awry, trusted managers and top execs take responsibility. This doesn’t mean playing the martyr or protecting someone who acted negligently, but it does mean the buck stops with you. Do your best to avoid putting others in harm’s way. This is a guaranteed way to earn respect.
Give away the success — Conversely, when the team’s efforts lead to success, be quick and public in showering praise on others. Yes, it was under your leadership and yes, people will know that, so there’s no reason to hog the glory. Passing praise around is another brick in the wall of trust.
Be transparent and honest — Of course some information has to remain confidential, but be as up front as you can be with your team about decisions being made that will affect them. Don’t obfuscate, even when they may not be happy with what they are hearing.
Don’t sugarcoat bad news — When things go sideways, when a division is going through a contraction, don’t sugarcoat it. Yes, you will be the bearer of bad news, but you will be earning trust by being forthcoming and straightforward about it.
Don’t play gotcha games — An employee isn’t handling a piece of business properly, and you know it. Don’t set traps and play “gotcha.” Take your concerns directly to the employee and give them the chance to make it right.
Roll up your sleeves — Team on a huge deadline? Disaster striking in one of your divisions? Be visible and be out there with front line employees and help get the tactical work done. Obviously you can’t entirely abandon your strategic post, but you can set things aside for a period of time to help close a gap. This will earn double payback in trust.
Be fair and consistent – Not everything in life can be legislated and not every situation in the workplace can be adjudicated through policy, but approaching employee relations with a fair and consistent mindset will help your team realize that you don’t play favorites, earning you trust.
Got trust issues? It’s OK. You can trust me to help. Give me a call and let’s talk about it.