By THOMAS WATERMAN
Trust. This core value was the foundation of communities throughout human history. Though, somewhere along the way we lost sight of why that value mattered in the first place. We forgot that trust is the pillar of successful teams of people who are productive and fulfilled. Money and power fogged leaders’ decision–making. That led to people beginning to lose faith in their leaders and, most importantly, in each other. Luckily, we are moving into the Purpose Economy – an economy that is driven by the quest to find meaning in our lives. Creating a meaningful and trusting workplace is the key to sustaining a business now, and for the long term.
Employees now have more choices than ever of where to work. How do they decide? The modern-day employee is more inclined to accept a job offer at a company that has a culture built on the foundation of trust– a place where people can be their authentic selves and know that it will be appreciated.
Leaders now have the opportunity to capitalize on this movement and begin to foster environments where employees can trust each other, the leadership, and the vision of the company. As leaders, it’s our imperative to create this culture for our people. Below are the 3 pillars to creating abundant trust among your team members and how you can bring these pillars to life in your leadership and business.
PILLAR 1: Vulnerability
Do not mistake vulnerability for weakness. In fact, standing in vulnerability is power in its purest form. Freeing yourself from judgment and fear empowers you to be open about the most delicate parts of your being. When you honor yourself, others will honor you back, with arms wide open. In reality there is nothing to lose by being open. As challenging as it may be at times, be open and honest with your team. Show them your ups, but show them your downs, too. As the leader, we don’t know everything, and that’s okay. The sooner we can break out of that hard shell we instinctively put on, the sooner our team will see that we’re human just like them. It’s then the trust level will skyrocket through the roof. You know why? You just created space for yourself, which creates space for everyone else. And this courageous act will inspire people on your team to do the same for their peers.
PILLAR 2: Empathy
Empathy is the ultimate tool to foster human connection and real understanding. When you can see, hear, feel, taste, and touch where another person has been, you are able to overcome any negative push from your ego that may be holding you back. From the depths of your heart, you are able to understand where the other person has been or is going. The truth is, when we choose to seek understanding before laying judgment, our people will feel safe. When they feel safe, they will embrace honesty. When people feel safe to be honest, they can uncover truth and find a solution quicker. In the end, people just want to feel heard and know that you, the leader, are taking their thoughts, feedback, ideas, and needs into account. When this becomes a reality for everyone on the team, abundant trust is an outcome.
PILLAR 3: Ownership
Ownership is looking inward, instead of pointing outward. It’s almost too easy to point the finger at somebody else, but it’s equally as challenging to point the finger inside. With the courage to admit your faults, you invite people in to grow alongside you. In this type of culture, each person knows that there is less focus on whose fault it is and more focus on how we can move forward in a positive direction. When the game changes from blame to ownership, everyone can harness the solution mindset to move the organization forward. As the leader, you set the standard that it’s courageous to be wrong.
When we practice vulnerability, empathy, and ownership in our daily interactions with our team, a sense of safety is created. This authentic environment is a space for fearless truth. Now, people can just be people. Embracing the human element is the catalyst to abundant trust shared by your team.
Thomas Waterman is the co-founder of Purpose Pioneers. He believes that when we find meaning in our work, we experience real-time fulfillment. He can be contacted at thomas@ purposepioneers.com and @ purposepioneers on the socials.