Trust is imperative for any relationship or team to be successful. Studies show that the levels of trust within an organization have a direct positive or negative impact on retention, productivity and profitability. This means that there is a direct economic impact on an organization when trust is low and applies to any company large or small.

When trust is low in a relationship or company, it places a hidden tax on every interaction, activity, communication, strategy and decision. The result is that speed goes down and costs go up. The reverse is true as well. When an organization is operating within an environment of high trust there is a dividend. A performance multiplier. Decisions, communications, interactions, and strategies happen with greater speed and at lower costs to the company.

Trust within a company can deteriorate in many ways such as lack of communication, dishonesty, promises not being kept, or lack of follow-through. The list goes on and on. The good news is that rebuilding and maintaining trust is something that can be learned, managed and measured to achieve maximum performance and improve morale, productivity and profitability.

Let's first take a look at the four critical elements of trust that leaders need to be aware of before we dive into methods for improving trust. This applies to both leaders and team members alike.

Able. You may believe that a colleague is sincere and honest but not fully trust them because they don't produce results. Conversely, you may work with or for someone who has the skill and talent to make things happen, but they don't exhibit honesty at all times. So you wouldn't trust that person either. This element of trust is about honesty and follow through.

Believable. Believability is about acting in a consistent values-driven manner that reassures employees that they can rely on their leaders and each other. Leaders have to be honest in their dealings and create and follow fair processes for all people.

Connected. Connectivity is about demonstrating good communication skills and having a high level of emotional intelligence. Good leaders need to be connected to their teams by understanding their needs, sharing information about the company, and being accessible. Especially in times of turmoil.

Dependable. Saying what you will do, and doing what you say. Reliability and taking action is imperative for any team to be productive. Leaders must be organized and predictable so that the company knows they have their act together.

When people believe they are working for a trustworthy organization, they will invest more of their time and talents in meeting or exceeding the company's goals. They will feel more connected which leads to greater self-discipline, collaboration, insight and more collective action towards achieving commons goals.

Here are 7 ways that any organization can start improving trust.

Demonstrate trust
Be transparent
Pass the word
Provide resources for success
Provide feedback
Tackle challenges head on
Lead by example

Building and maintaining trust is imperative for any personal or professional relationship to thrive. But trust is a delicate commodity and must be nurtured, practiced and measured to ensure that it doesn't vanish due to a series of poor decisions or miscommunications. Like anything else, trust building behavior can be learned and developed to achieve high levels of performance and drive a team towards the execution of a common goal.

Published on: Jun 24, 2015