When leaders don’t demonstrate control of their workday, trust and confidence in their abilities are diminished, along with productivity and progress.
Have you heard?
There’s a leadership development crisis in companies and corporations today, and it’s existed for quite a few years.
To make matters worse, employee trust in leadership is down, and research has shown a continuous decline since 2008, when “uncertain times” began.
Yet trust is essential to a company’s success. It’s a cornerstone on which many other necessities are built – not only leadership, but also successful relationships, culture and employee engagement just to name a few. Without trust, a company will crumble.
Furthermore, trust is not only vital between employees and their leaders. It’s important between co-workers as well. But unfortunately, according to a poll conducted by Maritz Research, “…only 7% of employees strongly agree they trust senior leaders to look out for their best interest, and only 7% strongly agree they trust their co-workers to do so.”
In an environment where trust is lacking, culture and engagement are negatively affected. People mentally check out. Communication and commitment are weak. Enthusiasm drops. Creativity decreases, and so does the willingness to take risks.
Put together, this creates a workplace where it takes a LOT longer to get things done. Progress moves at a snail’s pace, and everything… slows… down.
Think of how you would operate in an atmosphere of mistrust. You second-guess your actions, cover your tracks, prepare to be questioned, and take other protective steps. These time-consuming activities take time out of your workday that could otherwise be better spent on something else of real value.
Conversely, in a workplace of high-trust and confidence, you get an atmosphere bubbling over with speedy interactions, smooth transactions, and open communications. The pace picks up, time is used well, and productivity and progress increase. This is an environment of great success – for both individuals and the companies they work for.
No matter what position you hold in a company, it’s important to earn the trust and confidence of others in order to develop solid relationships, work well in a team, be more productive, and contribute to company progress and success.
So, how does one become a role model for increasing trust and confidence in the workplace?
Trust Is Connected to How You Work
Trust is earned one person at a time. It’s built between two people, and it doesn’t happen overnight. And while it can sometimes take a while to build trust, trust it can be earned more quickly when people can demonstrate they’re trustworthy.
If we refer to the ABCD Trust Model, created by The Ken Blanchard Companies, we see the four characteristics that must exist for leaders to be trustworthy: Able, Believable, Connected, and Dependable. But really, ALL professionals who want to work at their best, excel in their jobs, and be more successful will want to exhibit these same characteristics.
What’s interesting about these traits is that three out of four tie directly back to workload management – how professionals manage their work. When people manage their work, their workday, and themselves very well, it builds confidence and trust. But when skills are lacking in this area, trust and confidence take a hit.
Before I explain why and tell you which three traits tie in with how you work, I’d like to first share the very abbreviated definitions for all four letters in the ABCD Trust Model.
“Able” is defined as demonstrating capability, showing competence, using your expertise, and getting results.
“Believable” is defined as acting with integrity, being honest, treating people fairly, and modeling good values.
“Connected” is defined as caring about and taking an interest in other people. This includes building rapport, being a good listener, and giving recognition and praise when appropriate.
“Dependable” is defined as being reliable, meeting deadlines, being on time, and delivering what’s been promised.
Again, three out of four characteristics tie directly back to workload management and they are: Able, Believable and Dependable. In your workday, there are two ways to demonstrate these three characteristics.
One way is simply by using your expertise. You have the experience, education, background, skills and/or training to do what you do best every day in your job. You are Able, Believable, and Dependable just by knowing what you know and doing what you do. If new learning is required in your area of expertise, more training, education or certification may be available.
The second way you can demonstrate being Able, Believable and Dependable is by showing how well you manage your work – by getting things done and getting results. Because knowing how to work efficiently, effectively, and productively – without wasting time or energy – allows you to make noticeable progress using your expertise.
When you’re consistently Able, Believable, and Dependable in both your expertise AND in how you work, others will have trust and confidence in you, and they will be comfortable relying on you to get things done.
But when you DON’T exhibit the signs of being Able, Believable and Dependable, others will generally think, “He doesn’t know what he’s doing.”
But the question is… in which way?
In his expertise or in how he works? Because these are two very different things.
Trust and Confidence Take a Hit
If we focus only on how a person works – and not their level of specific expertise – consider the following Top Five Behaviors that diminish trust and confidence.
When these are evident in someone else’s workday, what do you think of that person? Is it easy to have confidence in their abilities? Are they believable when they speak or make promises? Can they be relied on to get back to you or get the job done on time and on target?
Saying “yes” too often
When professionals say “yes” too often, there’s a risk of over committing, over-promising and creating overwhelm. In many cases, saying yes shows the ability to do a task, but time is missing from the equation. Commitments end up broken because unrealistic time frames are promised.
Things to do are out of control
When professionals try to track, prioritize and accomplish tasks from their sources – which can number more than ten – the ability to effectively plan and prioritize is impossible. A constant worry exists about what might have been missed, lost or forgotten. And diminished awareness of all responsibilities and time available to get things accomplished makes it too easy to miss deadlines.
- Uncertainty about time
When professionals are uncertain about where their time goes or how much time is required to get tasks and projects completed, it’s more difficult to be prepared. It’s a challenges to meet deadlines and count on certain progress. And when professionals don’t protect enough time or they let others schedule time than they can afford to spare, it means there have less time to be productive. Big progress is difficult to make in left-over scraps of time.
- Working reactively
When professionals jump at every email, phone call, distraction, and interruption, it negatively affects their focus and concentration. Interruptions will pour into an all-day, open-door policy. And being distracted means the non-essential is getting in the way of the essential. Outside of addressing true emergencies, working reactively means there’s no sense of urgency for accomplishing the priorities that are most important.
When professionals are disorganized, a lot of time and energy are lost due to looking for things. When information can’t be found, whether physical or digital, a considerable delay in progress will occur, not only for the disorganized person, but possibly for those who are waiting to receive the information that can’t be found.
When you see these traits and behaviors in co-workers or leaders, it affects how you perceive them. And what if others see these traits and behaviors in you?
It’s important to your career success and to your company’s success to learn how to become the most Able, Believable and Dependable person you know. As Josh Bersin of Bersin by Deloitte states, “your skills are the currency for your success.”
When you invest in learning how to work more efficiently, effectively and productively, you can not only increase your progress and success, but increase the confidence and trust others have in you and your abilities. When this occurs, everyone will work better together and be more productive as a whole.
Trust increases productivity and productivity increases trust, and that’s a cycle that creates powerful success.