Building Trust in an organization

Posted by in Management

LinkedIn offers an opportunity to change your perspective when you take the time to explore their Q&A Forum. Some of the questions are great and more importantly the answers you see there open your eyes to perspectives and experiences which are vastly different from those that you are accustomed to!

During a recent journey into the world of LI, I came across a question on Building trust within an organization and the factors that are required to achieve that.  I started writing the response off-line- and for some reason, lost the link to the question. However, since I already had prepared some ideas.. here are some thoughts. I am sure there are a lot more that could be added to this. Do add to this if you have more ideas around this.

1. Management culture/ethos – A Management that is dedicated to build a culture of openness, and a culture of respect for each other, is critical to set the tone of trust within. With bosses who are not trustworthy, it is almost impossible to build a climate of trust within the organization. (I am sure there is no debate here)!

2. Leadership style – A leader who is open, and demonstrates trustworthiness, is key to build trust within the team. Someone who shares his perspectives openly, seeks feedback, gives credit, jointly builds the strategy, are critical elements of the leadership style that will set the tone of trust.

3. Openness to feedback and ideas and change – Feedback is critical to self-improvement. Any team that is open to feedback, (good or bad) and consciously makes efforts to improve, will get members more open to suggest ideas freely and be willing to accept feedback in return.

4. Leaders who are accessible – Leaders who are willing to walk the talk- and meet their team lower in the organization

5. Ability to accept mistakes – Leaders and a management team that is ready to accept mistakes made, and willing to apologize, rectify them is a key element to build trust.

6. Proactively seek ideas and share with the team– and acknowledge the owner of the idea. One of the key elements why lack of trust pervades many organizations – that of people who steal others’ ideas and push it off as their own. By acknowledging the owner of the idea, they could help in building trust and open the door to more brilliant ideas that will start pouring in. 

In my experience, both Microsoft & IBM, companies I have worked with (and still working in :)) showed this openness that helps build trust in the organization and the people one works with.

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