Ways to Improve Trust

(includes caring)


"...we are seeing a surprising amount of forgiveness from customers and the community when bad things happen, as long as the company is fast, transparent and has a very citizen-centric response to the problem..."
Maile Carnegie as quoted by James Eyers 2019

This statement is at odds with what the ABC (2019a) found from its survey of over 50,000 people, ie one of the main concerns of the respondents was that corporations put profit before community.

Also, there is a lot of cynicism that corporations are paying lip service, ie actions are not following the words. Many say they are sorry but do not follow up with suitable action to support their statement of contrition.

. Trust can only arise where people have deep, intense interest in each other. They must be able to distinguish one another's qualities, to know which aspects of one another are special and worth trusting.

"...People need to trust the manager and the environment, they need to feel cared about and acknowledged. In organisations where management treats the workforce with respect and understanding, tells the truth, and keeps its word, employees are more positive about change and open to innovation, more engaged in the change process.

Trust emerges from relationships characterized by honesty, integrity and reliability. Caring comes from treating individuals with respect and empathy, acknowledging their efforts and contributions......Trust can't be bought.....Trust is delicate. It takes a long time to establish and a split second to lose..."

Robert Kriegel et al, 1996

Some ways to improve trust

Ask the CEO to publicise company performance objectives and results to broaden the base of understanding of where the company is heading and why.

. Develop open management, with the honest and open sharing of all company information.

. Abolish all symbols of hierarchy such as reserved car parks and different eating areas.

. Involve all employees in the development of new work processes.

. Create a forum where all shop floor and management personnel can come together to get all issues on the table and "clear the air".

. Produce a business plan cum action plan which shows management has a commitment to change.

. Design a consultative rather than hierarchical decision-making process.

. Provide workers with rapid feedback on the company's performance.

. Get the workers involved in solving problems.

. Educate everyone to understand that job security is up to everyone.

. Set achievable goals and then stick to them:- don't keep moving the goal posts.

. Managers need to show people that a culture of mistrust is not beneficial to anyone.

. Managers provide more recognition with a few simple "Thanks!".

. Management gets down to the coal-face and walks around.

. Give training in "people skills" to all leading hands and supervisors.

. Remove all time clocks

. Get management to work on improving the content and quality of information they share.

. Provide more on-site team building with a cross-section of all levels.

. Identify local best-practice organisations to visit so that more employees have the opportunity to learn and understand the need to change.

. Address dissatisfaction with those supervisors who won't play the game.

. Provide clearer job descriptions so that everyone knows who does what and who to contact for help and information.

. Create an information centre which can ensure that the information that is shared by some people does not contradict information shared by others.

. Set up inter-departmental communication forums.

. Provide focus on costs, including dollar values of absenteeism and compensation.

. Find a way to keep the focus of work on outcomes, not policies and procedures.

. Identify co-dependencies between work units and develop a partnership culture.

. Create internal learning clusters and begin learning from each other.

. Encourage simple grassroots communication.

. Create an environment where workers feel free to confront all management.

. Establish an "Ideas Wall"on which anyone can put thoughts forward without being intimidated by the more dominant people.

. Develop a performance indicator of less than a 7 day response time to any question asked of managers.

. Provide specific staff awareness training on how to trust each other.

. Establish an environment where management is forced to answer more questions directly and everyone is challenged to ask more questions.

. Have a revolving leader program to avoid power blocks.

. Develop a company and union partnership agreement.

. Have a designated scribe attend all meetings to give each attendee an identical copy of notes from the meeting.

. Schedule site meetings with management at least once a month.

. Ask management to commit to "to do" instead of "gonna do".

. Ensure more involvement by non-talkers at meetings rather than their only talking away from meetings.

. Set parameters so that everyone knows their level of decision-making and responsibilities.

. Develop a team member exchange program where people can spend a day in everyone else's job.

. Conduct more face-to-face meetings with everyone.

. Managers need to develop more user-friendly explanations of how performances are related to the business's outcomes.

. For some teams it will be start again, with teams to be made up of motivated volunteers who get on and trust each other.

. Take time to develop a code of ethics within the workplace and within the teams.

. Encourage experimentation and undertaking of calculated risks.

. Improve work through more flexible working hours.

. Provide "soft" people skills training for all team members.

Trust is linked with psychological safety, ie
"...making sure people have the opportunity to share and express their opinion without feeling they are going to get judged, or pulled down, or get fired even, for saying something silly..."
Sherif Mansour as quoted by Robert Bolton, 2017b

Atlassian's (successful high-tech Australian company) way of building trust in teams is based around openness, ie

- teams have access to information they need as quickly as possible, eg maximising access to company's documentation and information, putting minutes of all meetings on the Internet, etc

- create a safe environment for people to freely express their points of view without judgement

- create an environment where people can be authentic and bring their 'full selves to work'

- encourage feedback

Online trust

"...the problem of building trust online is not a fad but it is fundamental. When people don't trust each other, there are social and economic limitations to human transactions...... this is a big problem to solve because we now operate in very large communities, open networks, where we don't know the buyers and sellers. We are transacting with strangers all the time and it requires a new level of understanding and trust between people..."

Rachel Botsman, 2016a

Lack of trust is implicit in online sites such as eBay, trip advisor, airbnb, etc. As a result, ratings and rankings from all sides of the transactions are encouraged as a way of stopping people being dishonest.

(source: Grant Donovan, 1995)

Body Language and Trust

An important part of building trust is how we communicate by body language. You have a couple of seconds to create the right impression via your body language. People make snap decisions to decide whether you are a friend, foe, sexual partner or indifferent; the preferred option is friend while the default position is indifference. One way to use body language to elicit trust from others is to imitate their body language, eg if they are using open hands, you use open hands, etc.. Other positions to develop trust include an open body posture facing others (see below)


 (source: Diane Harner, 2017)


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