An open letter from Glenn Stearns, CEO of Kind Lending
Do you trust me?
A bit of a forward question. Why would you? We probably don’t personally know each other. We haven’t had the TIME to build a bond of trust. I might be able to earn that trust by consistently showing up and being by your side when the crap hits the fan, but the truth is, we (more than likely) just aren’t there yet.
But if I wanted to work with you, it would be ESSENTIAL — absolutely essential — that you did trust me, and that I, in turn, trusted you.
Why is that so?
Can you imagine for a moment having to share an office-space with someone who you KNEW, based on a history of evidence and observed habits, to be deceitful? Someone who lied as a means to get ahead and who you’d noticed doing so for the last, say, two or three years?
Now some of you may actually be in this situation. If you are, I’m dearly sorry. But for those of you for whom this situation is just play-pretend, I’d like you to think for a second about how it would make you feel.
Really think for a minute. I’ve got time.
I bet I can guess how you’d act around this devious co-worker. You’d stay the heck away from them! You’d avoid collaborating with them on team projects. You’d avoid them in the break room. You’d be wary of their feedback or offers of help. You wouldn’t share stories about your weekend with them, let alone make eye contact with them.
And that’s the way it ought to be. Why?
Because they don’t have your trust. And trust is absolutely critical. In yourself, in your relationships — and yes — in the office.
Trust Pays Off
I’m going to throw some rapid-fire statistics at you. If you aren’t much one for numbers (like me), trust me, it’ll all be over soon.
People who work for organizations that value and champion trust (called ‘High-Trust Companies’) experience 74% less stress. There’s a 50% boost in productivity and 40% less burnout. These employees reportedly have OVER 2 TIMES their normal energy and are 29% more satisfied with their ENTIRE LIVES.
These numbers are incredible!
And I don’t need to tell you why. It seems that employees in a high trust environment work harder, do more and are generally happier.
And isn’t that the goal?
Now if you’re a manager, you’re probably leaning back in your chair right now and giving your screen a scrupulous look. “That’s all very good”, you may be saying. “But how are we actually supposed to put that into practice? Get on with it, Glenn!”
To that I say, “Patience, my friend. I’m getting to it.”
Trust In Action
I know you saw those numbers in the last section and are already geared up and ready to see the results on your desk TODAY. But it doesn’t work like that. As you probably already know from your own relationships, personal, professional or otherwise, building trust takes time.
Shaping your workplace into a High-Trust powerhouse is something that needs to be done with consistency over many days, weeks and months.
How else will your co-workers and clients know they can trust you? That’s just how it works.
First up, you’re going to want to give your managers an education in the value of Emotional Trust.
“What’s that?” I hear you cry at your computer screens. Well, it’s simple.
Emotional trust is all about forming meaningful bonds. About harnessing your compassionate side in dealings with your fellow co-workers. About letting your emotional intelligence take the reins for a little while in the big team meeting.
The best leaders in the world are notably strong in emotional intelligence. Don’t worry. This is something that can be practiced.
These leaders care about their team more than they care about the bottom line. They make commitments, then spring into action to keep those commitments. They cultivate strong relationships by asking others thoughtful questions and creating an open forum for people at every level of the company to share and discuss their ideas.
Simply put, they have your back.
And that’s a kind of trust that money can’t buy.
Trust In You
So what if you’re not a leader in your workplace, but you still want to foster a sense of trust and community in your team? Well first off, that’s a worthy aspiration and I applaud you for it. But second…
All you really have to do is follow these simple principles, then give your team a chance to follow in your footsteps.
Take the initiative. People put their trust in those who act in the way they say they’re going to. So think about your course of action — and get it done! The more others see the fruits of your labor, the more they’ll trust you as a trailblazer who gets shit done.
Foster respect. Those with good character are the backbone of our society. They’re polite. They’re kind. But more importantly, they do what they know is right. Even if that path isn’t always the easiest one (trust me, it often isn’t).
Lead with your heart. Acknowledge when your fellows make mistakes, but don’t give them an ear-full for it. In today’s modern workplace, we know that compassion comes first in situations like these, and we’re better off for it. Be kind when you give feedback. But don’t forget to be honest. That’s the key to a successful, trusting co-worker dynamic.
And most importantly of all… Keep doing it!
Don’t stop upholding the values of trust because you’re having a rough day. Because you’re overworked and a little tired. Because you’re too ‘in your head’ to listen to some respectful advice from a friendly co-worker.
As I said at the top of this article: trust takes time.
But put in the work — and do it every day — and every single person who works in your office will prosper.
That’s a Glenn Stearns guarantee.