FranklinCovey Consultant Blogs | Todd Wangsgard | Self Trust
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!
This is the first part of a three-part series on trust by Dr. Todd Wangsgard, to be featured in the Texas/Oklahoma FranklinCovey blog.
Author of The Speed of Trust, Stephen M.R. Covey, defines trust as “confidence born of the character and competence of an individual or organization.” This simple yet complete definition of an otherwise squishy subject takes into account both the feel-good side of trust in character as well as the practical side of one’s reliability in competence. Both character and competence lend confidence to those who would consider following any leader. And more than ever before, trust (or confidence) is sought after by an increasingly globally savvy audience of human beings who see the impact that geo-political activities are having on their individual well-being.
SMRC (as we affectionately call the author at FranklinCovey) also boldly asserts that, “trust is the key competency of the new global economy.” Again, as you replace “trust” in that sentence with “confidence,” one can see how the currency of trust is not just a “nice-to-have,” but rather an absolute imperative for leadership effectiveness under any circumstances. It is key, because without it, business plans, corporate promises, financial metrics and reports all come under the scrutiny of one question: “Yes, but what should we believe?”
The Speed of Trust book and classroom experience offer several models of thinking to better understand and define trust that break the subject down into understandable water cooler discussions. The Four Cores of Self Trust that subdivide Character into one’s integrity and intent and Competence into capabilities and results. The Five Waves of Trust that any leader must assess and develop within, including Self Trust, Relationship Trust, Organizational (or team) Trust, Market Trust, and Societal Trust. The 13 Behaviors of High Trust, including Talk Straight, Create Transparency, Right Wrongs, Get Better and nine others.
I recently worked with a successful CEO in the manufacturing and fulfillment business who has truly lived out the kind of trustworthy behavior described by SMRC. He has worked side-by-side (while the CEO) with frontline employees on the manufacturing line to learn what they do and to help keep costs down during a recent recession (Show Loyalty, Deliver Results, Confront Reality, Practice Accountability). He has made an effort to get to know every single employee in the company and remembers to send them a hand-written birthday greeting each year (Demonstrate Respect, Show Loyalty). While announcing a 15% pay cut for himself, he asked all exempt associates to accept a 7½% pay cut to help off-set their losses or agree to termination with a 3-months’ salary severance package (at their higher rate of pay). No one left and all were subsequently rewarded with “back-pay” on their lost wages after a couple successful intervening years and given a sizeable bonus (Talk Straight, Create Transparency, Show Loyalty, Get Better, Keep Commitments).
The confidence that Stephen writes about and that I’ve witnessed in industry over the past 25+ years starts with a leader who has genuine confidence in himself or herself and in the associates who choose to follow. Give them a leader they can trust (the Self Trust wave) and you have a foundation upon which you will build lasting relationships, enormously successful organizations, and a brand that generates intense loyalty and growth.