5 Tools to Build Trust...When Things Get Nuts
by Jennifer Byrnes, on Apr 24, 2020 3:45:00 PM
It is unlike anything we’ve ever before experienced. We’re navigating a changed, uncharted world. For so many people, amplified uncertainty and fear is disrupting life. A life we once knew has been upended by COVID-19.
As economies around the world have stunted, those businesses that continue to operate, and industries that must operate to serve others, need people—engaged employees—to keep them running and serving customers. So, how do you navigate the uncertainty and fear your people feel during change that threatens their engagement, and in turn hinders operations and service?
Trust is the antidote for uncertainty and fear. Leaders who succeed in building trust across their organization succeed in keeping people engaged to operate and serve their customers through periods of great change. As an added bonus, higher trust drives creativity and innovation. We’ve seen this happen all around us; for example, manufacturing companies shifting to produce PPE, 3D printers now producing ventilators, hotels converted to hospitals, and the list goes on. High trust organizations not only survive change, they become stronger and thrive as a result of it.
“How do you build trust when things get nuts?”
I reached out to several extraordinary leaders across businesses and industries to see how they are building trust and keeping employees engaged amid this significant time of change. There were five clear practices that emerged:
- Leverage technology: Connect and promote a sense of belonging by employing virtual face-to-face interactions, video conferencing for meetings, and virtual Social/Happy Hours!
- Infuse humor, comedy, and fun: Some great examples include teams voting for the best face-mask designs, sharing quarantine soundtracks, or creating a virtual scavenger hunt!
- Pay it forward: Lead the way by sharing skills and expertise at no-charge through volunteer opportunities, pro-bono activities, community forums. Publish intellectual property to help people find answers to common questions (e.g. legal, financial).
- Listen and care: Make time to listen and ask what each employee needs; maybe it’s tools, or a flexible work schedule. Show compassion and provide what you can to support them.
- Be vulnerable, transparent, and honest: Acknowledge the situation and their feelings…and create space for dialogue with the team. Share feelings and experiences.
Communication is Key
“I am finding that in this time of pandemic, the more you are vulnerable and show more attention to humanity, the better engagement you get from your team.”
The core of each of these trust-building practices is authentic communication. It is at the heart of leading change, and it can take many different, unique forms to fit any team and organization. Through thoughtful communication, trust builds, engagement improves, uncertainty and fear fade, and creativity and innovation emerge.
-Jennifer Byrnes is a Principal Consultant with Accelare and specializes in Organizational Change Leadership and Leadership Coaching. To learn more about how we can support you through these times of change, reach out to Jennifer at firstname.lastname@example.org.