Andrew Marsh, chair of Vistage, NED for numerous businesses and charities and successful entrepreneur recently attended the latest Vistage Executive Summit.
A number of world-class speakers took to the virtual stage and over the coming months Andrew will share what he learnt, along with his own longstanding knowledge, covering a range of topics that affect how business leaders will perform as we come out of the pandemic. In this article, Andrew looks at the importance of trust in the work place.
“Trust in yourself, your decisions and your ability, as well as trust in the business, in colleagues and in the market will have a significance impact on performance. “At the Executive Summit, Stephen M.R. Covey, business educator, author and keynote speaker highlighted the significance of trust and how it can be used to get results. Stephen shared research about how organisations with high levels of trust achieved three times the levels of performance against those that don’t. “A lot of initial trust is intuitive, but as a relationship grows, is trust earned or a natural given until proven otherwise?
To answer this, we need to look at what is trust? In my opinion, trust is having the belief and confidence in the reliability, truth or ability in someone or something. “If we believe in our vision, our purpose and passions we will positively affect others with that same sense of passion. If we are all aligned on the journey, we must offer trust to those around us, to create the environment of empowerment, as together we will have the capabilities, ideas, complimentary skills and energy to deliver. Ultimately, we find more choices to make better decisions leading to better results. If we fail to trust, then we create an environment of mistrust and put in measures, controls, restrictions that ultimately lead to slower or poor results. “It can be lonely at the top and knowing who to turn to, and trust, in times of crisis or opportunity is key. “Evidence indicates that Peer Networks can result in 2.5% higher labour productivity. Furthermore, a study performed across over 2000 businesses identified a correlation of high performance leadership effectiveness and business performance showed a 2x impact on profits. This work is documented in the book Mastering Leadership by Robert J. Anderson & William A. Adams. “Peer support provides professional interaction to learn new skills and to reinforce your own strengths. Helping others in business (outside of your own), sharing your knowledge beyond your immediate remunerated role and spreading your network wings wider all boost trust in yourself and your peers. Or it can highlight areas you need to improve so you can trust you are up to scratch with the right training! “Vistage peer groups focus on this and feedback from members is confidence in themselves grows tenfold. By opening up in this way, we are building our own capacities of Trust beyond our normal intuition. “Having a mentor can help, as well as listening to feedback from peers, your team and others. Feedback may not be what you want to hear but if you listen and trust it comes from a good place, then it means you can change your approach or knowledge and make better decisions. “This brings me to extending trust outwards as a leader. Transparency is job number one for leaders whilst in, and coming out of, a crisis. “You have to give trust to get trust. The best example of that is a team on a sports field. When passing a ball, a rugby player will pass instinctively and without hesitation to create openings and opportunity. Any hesitation, whether its “is the pass right”, “will they catch it” or something else will give the defense a chance to stop progress. This is gained through training, disciplines, interaction, making mistakes but learning and above all team work. Trust in them and trust in himself.
“When looking at who you trust to work alongside or do business with, you need to evaluate their credibility and their behaviour. As a leader you will be being judged by these things too, so if you display characteristics that would help you trust someone, then you are on the right track. For me, that is talking straight, being transparent, clarifying expectations and practicing accountability. If I meet someone that resonates on those levels with me, then there is an inbuilt trust. “Stephen Covey lists 13 behaviours of high trust which include listening, confronting reality, keeping commitments and showing loyalty. Which of those 13 you look for, and extend, depend on which behaviours you expect win trust. “Many do not give trust until it is proven and even then hold back. The good news is it is a learnable skill. To learn to trust as a leader, you need put rules into place in the workplace and lead by example. Demonstrate respect, create transparency. If team members feel you hide detail or facts, they will do the same. Also learn to right wrongs, this shows you as human but open and willing to be honest. A great trust builder. “Finally my last tip is get better. Do what you do every day better than the day before, don’t over think things you haven’t done but celebrate the good you have. Encourage those around to do the same. People will always trust someone demonstrating they are giving it their all, who accept help and guidance throughout!
Let’s face it, no-one trusts a closed off know-it-all!” If you want to know more about the 13 behaviours of high trust, need help in trusting yourself, in trusting others or in sharpening your leadership skills then contact Andrew on Andrew.firstname.lastname@example.org. He has a number of peer group, mentoring and membership options to help leaders in the North East!