Leadership Today
Building Trust

As mentioned last time, a key ingredient to achieve successful empowerment is trust.

We can teach principles related to trust, but that does not have much to do with building trust.
Trust is not a skill that can be acquired intellectually. You cannot gather all of your team members into a classroom one day, and say, “Folks, today we are going to learn to trust each other.” It simply does not work that way.
How does Trust develop? Trust develops over time, based on our experience with each other. It takes time, but this important topic should not be left to chance. There is too much at stake to not pro-actively try to create team relationships that are strong – relationships that are based on trust. Remember, if trust is absent, the result will likely not be neutral; the result will probably be negative.
Covey's "emotional bank account" metaphor.
Stephen Covey, in his famous book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, refers to an emotional bank account that we all have with each other. Our actions toward each other either make deposits, or withdrawals, to and from these accounts. Covey states beautifully that if we make deposits, through courtesy, kindness, honesty, and keeping commitments, trust levels increase. The opposite affect occurs if we are not courteous, if we are disrespectful, dishonest, etc. When this is how we treat people, these emotional withdrawals reduce or eliminate levels of trust. 
Leaders and team members can be taught principles such as Covey’s metaphor, but it still does not necessarily facilitate building trust. Training efforts have a better chance of creating movement toward increased trust if they include strong elements of experiential learning that can bring the principle of trust to life for groups.
Techniques for building trust.
The best facilitation process for building trust, through demonstration of trustworthiness, is by using experiential facilitation and learning processes.
With experiential learning processes, people get to experience firsthand the impact of trust. They experience that trust is essential to successfully accomplishing the training activities. The impact and importance is usually quite vivid. The experience in the activity then provides a safe and comfortable platform for discussing the issues related to trust in the work place. The focus is on what just occurred in the activity, but the lessons stick, as they pertain to the group’s real mission.
Experiential learning processes can accelerate the development of trust. It is the most powerful way to pro-actively educate and stimulate the building of trust within a team.
These important lessons can be woven into the processing and discussion that accompanies experiential exercises. 
Facilitators can often weave powerful learning activities into sessions that are designed to teach other topics to their group. This provokes important thought, consideration, and reinforcement about individual and group actions within the context of the additional topics, such as communication, and how they are critical to building trust.
High levels of trust within any group are a clear advantage. There is a lot to be gained by investing in facilitation processes to help a group understand and build their levels of trust. It is the key to effective relationships, relationships that will result in effective teamwork toward the objectives of the organization.
Still yet, leaders must understand that nothing is more important in building trust that the day-to-day actions and work methods that speak tons to employees and teams about what really can or cannot be trusted at work.
Sometimes specific efforts must be facilitated to help groups overcome difficulties and pain from their past experiences, and to mend and/or create solid working relationships.   This can be true following periods of downsizing and restructuring that perhaps were not smooth or accompanied with effective communication and engagement.
Trust is a powerful enabler for an organization. On-going and enduring trust can be essential to:
  • Empower people effectively
  • Enhance organizational performance through the implementation of changes and improvements
  • Breakdown silos between organizational groups that may have been holding back progress
  • Improve the total effort toward accomplishing the business mission, rather that sub-optimizing with improvements at the individual team level
Many thanks,

Trust and empowerment
5/5/2010 7:28:24 AM Link 0 comments | Add comment

empowerment, trust

The series we just completed dealt with keys to successful empowerment.

That topic is about relationships and the distribution of power and authority within those working relationships. Today we begin a brief series on a key ingredient to achieve successful empowerment – trust.
Levels of empowerment can be gauged by observing the interactions among working relationships as well as the interactions with customers and others external to the organization:

·         Are people empowered to use their expertise to help customers (external and internal)?
·         Is the group empowered to create ideas and opportunities?
·         Are the people and groups in the organization empowered to take the actions necessary to succeed?
As we previously defined it, empowerment means vesting people with the responsibility for action, action that will help serve the enterprise, and make the business successful. The process of increasing empowerment, whether to an individual or a team, occurs over time. It is definitely not an instantaneous change. The change involves two parties, the person or team receiving increased empowerment and responsibility, and the party giving up some of their responsibility or authority. 
At the heart of this giving and receiving of empowerment is trust.
It requires trust on the part on the one doing the empowering, and trustworthiness on the part of those receiving the increase in scope of work and responsibility. It requires both time and experience for this trust to evolve.
The scope and freedom in each of these areas of interaction may be increased in small ways at first. When these are handled successfully, an increasing level of action and authority may be enabled. 
It is important for both parties to understand the dynamics of this, so that they will know what is at stake in their activities as empowerment is increased. Knowledge of this will accelerate the process, because everyone will be expecting an outcome that moves the process forward. 
The result will be increasing levels of trust and demonstrated trustworthiness, which in turn enables increased levels of empowerment. Success leads to both trust and confidence as people grow in their roles.
Next time we will examine the process of building trust.
Warm regards,




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