Just imagine being in a relationship … any relationship … where you lack a feeling of trust in another person. For sure this is a challenge and even potentially dooms the desired success. Now envision this in your workplace and specifically in your department, your team or even the overall leadership you are paid to follow and support. Do you trust those around you providing direction or leadership? If not … success is limited or basically AWOL.
In coaching an individual in an organization, what often comes up as a root cause of their frustration or unhappiness is the lack of trust in another or others. It serves to undermine the person’s desire and willingness to apply themselves to be and do their very best. In fact, it is this missing trust that is the forerunner of turnover that occurs when someone feels they can’t or won’t continue to extend effort needed to achieve the intended goals. And it’s a well-known fact that turnover and the resulting need to find and recruit new employees is so very costly in addition to the impact on morale that it makes sense to work hard to avoid this.
Waiting until the lack of trust becomes so evident that it appears to have no resolution doesn’t serve anyone of us … the company as a whole or certainly the individual. However, by recognizing some of the indicators to a lack of basic trust can allow anyone to address it before it moves to what appears to be an irreparable state. In writing for Psychology Today, Nan S Russell authored an article entitled Trust: The New Workplace Currency. She points to 10 yellow flag conditions that indicate an existing lack of trust as follows:
- People only doing what needs to be done or what’s asked of them, nothing more
- There’s a silo mentality, with limited collaboration, cooperation, and information sharing between departments
- Safe decision making with only limited or mediocre innovation is typical. Thoughtful risk-taking is the exception
- Complaining, finger-pointing, and blaming, with little personal accountability, ownership of mistakes, or stepping up to take on responsibilities is commonplace
- Highly competitive behaviors exist with aggressive opposition or blocking of others’ ideas
- Pertinent information that’s needed is withheld thus hindering good decision making
- Alignment between words and actions is not the norm and even key decision makers say one thing and do another
- Rumors come true more often than not since official communications operate with a last-century-spin-mentality, and transparency is for other people
- Policies, systems, and procedures are grounded in a belief that, for the most part, employees can’t be trusted, and need to be prodded, monitored, and controlled
- Top down command is the preferred style and most who lead believe influence comes with their titles, not realizing right behaviors, not right titles, drive results
It’s fairly safe to presume that you, the reader, may well be seeing any of the above indicators in your workplace. The question is what can you do about it so that you can remain enthusiastic and committed to helping both your organization and you succeed? It’s simple. Bring it to the attention of someone who can help affect the change you want and need. Is it HR? Is it the person in whom you lack the trust? What’s important is that we find someone … anyone … who will be open to hearing the concern and either take action or make suggestions as to what you can do. Very often … in fact most often, the person creating your lack of trust is quite unaware of things they are doing that actually undermine their intention. Don’t be surprised when you get a real “Thank You”.