This is the third installment of a three-part series on trust by Dr. Todd Wangsgard, featured in the Texas/Oklahoma FranklinCovey blog.
I intend for employees to work well together. But sometimes they don’t.
I intend for people to understand the department’s goals. But sometimes they aren’t clear.
I intend for the production line to remain “up” all shift long. But sometimes it isn’t.
I intend for my kids to just know that I love them. But sometimes they wonder.
The difference between what we intend and what is could be called a credibility gap. As we examined in my first blog posting in this series (see Leadership and Trust: Keyword – “Confidence”) every person, organization, team, process, or piece of equipment portrays some level of credibility. According to Stephen MR covey, credibility is the sum total of one’s integrity, intent, capabilities, and results. The gap I’ve described in the examples above is typical of that rift between good intentions and actual capabilities and/or results that occurs when something is out of alignment.
High trust teams require alignment.
This is where the leader can leverage his or her efforts to build personal credibility at the Self Trust level and the increased trust that comes from key behaviors (see my second posting Leadership & Relationship Trust – Keyword: “Behavior”) at the Relationship Trust level. These combine for the leader who must create trustworthy systems and symbols that are aligned.
A mid-level manager at a large auto manufacturer with whom I work quite closely expressed frustration when he had done everything he could to be a more trustworthy leader, develop relationships of trust, and still find that people were failing to “deliver the goods” on the job. It wasn’t until he took a closer look at his department’s systems and processes that he found one of them was broken. He tried hard to be fair. He was tireless in his communication. He treated his associates with dignity and respect and expected the same of them. However, the computerized system that made work assignments each day – determining which stations each associate would work at – kept putting some people on the same processes, shift after shift. This created issues of boredom, repetitive motion injuries, low morale, and resentment. “After all,” associates would think, “I’m sure the boss keeps me here because he doesn’t like me.”
When things get out of alignment and we fail to address them, people will quickly assume the worst.
It wasn’t until he discovered that there was a break-down in the training reporting system that ensured associates were qualified in the computer system to work in other areas that he was able to apply a quick and effective remedy. He aligned the system with his good intentions.
Ask your team to examine the systems in your department – communication, budgeting, training, meetings, performance, etc. – and get their input on where these could be better aligned. Your interest and concern alone will generate trust, not to mention the many ways you rebuild and refine systems and processes that ensure your team remains credible and successful, long after you are promoted.
This even works outside of the office. If your loved ones begin to wonder how much you care, give yourself an alignment: Tell ‘em and show ‘em!
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