Building trust in the workforce is one of the most important things that a leader can do. People like Mark Stiffler, Synygy’s CEO, have worked incredibly hard to build this type of trust. In fact, some say that what sets a good CEO apart from a mediocre one, is this ability. Unfortunately, however, not many CEOs truly understand how to do this.
The Problem with Mistrust
Mistrust is rife in almost every organizations. Staff don’t trust each other or their leaders, leaders don’t trust each other or their staff. Addressing this often goes wrong. If an employee plucks up the courage to raise the issue that they have, buzzwords start to be thrown around, including “social event”, “transparency”, and “surveys”. While on paper, those are good ideas, they usually don’t actually materialize past talking about it.
What companies need to understand, however, is that the buck stops with their CEO. If there is mistrust in their organization, they are to blame for it, and they need to solve it. They must be able to identify the problem, take responsibility for it, own it, and resolve it.
How CEOs Can Build Trust in Their Organization
- They have to become enlightened. All CEOs want to be successful, and want to be good at what they do. However, too many still think that this means micromanaging, and essentially plugging every single hole. If a CEO does this, then what they are showing is that they don’t trust their managers to do what they need to do. CEOs who don’t trust their managers don’t instill trust in others either.
- They have to be transparent. Transparency is a buzzword, as previously stated, but it is an important one. If there is no transparency, then staff will start to think that there is a reason for them to hide something, and this builds not just mistrust, but downright paranoia. Transparency combats this, but it is also very hard, because it means being the bearer of bad news very regularly. Having to bring bad news is hard, because it doesn’t make you very likeable. However, without transparency, there is no trust either.
- They have to be nice. Too many CEOs still think that they can do whatever they want due to their position, and that the fact that they are busy and at the head of the organization allows them to be volatile, unpredictable, and sometimes downright rude. This creates a workforce that is always on edge, with people feeling they cannot predict how their CEO is going to react next. This, again, does not instill trust.
- They must recognize the positive and reward it. This is true for their staff members, but also for the general public. If something good happens, the CEO cannot take the credit for it themselves, but they should reward those that were integral to it happening in the first place. This tells people that their CEO believes in them, and that creates trust.
- They must be able to solve any problem, and they must be able to do it quickly. Problem solving is a key skill for CEOs, and one that they need in order to make sure their organization as a whole trusts them.