Corporate Social Responsibility
Trust: Growth, evolution and sustaining momentum
By Daniela DeTommaso
When we think of organizational success drivers, we often think of buzzwords like “visibility”, “ROI” and “synergy”. But there’s one key factor that is often overlooked, and it’s a big one.
A foundational piece of every relationship, whether it be personal or in the workplace, trust allows individuals and organizations to have more honest conversations. In turn, this helps facilitate a company culture that is open, empathetic, collaborative and ultimately successful.
Trust is a complex concept that has many different meanings to different people. It can cement relationships by allowing individuals to depend on one another, or can limit the ability to collaborate or grow when it’s simply not there.
At the simplest level, to me, trust means doing what you say you’re going to do, being truthful and trusting others.
It’s not something that can or should vary between hierarchy levels and teams within an organization, which is also where integrity comes into play. Integrity is a vital component to ensuring that employees are not treated differently based on a hierarchy or any other factors within a workplace, as this will lead to a lower level of trust.
Additionally, it’s important to remember that trust is a two-way street. When you trust your employees, it gives you an opportunity to be more transparent and permission to be vulnerable, which naturally increases your team’s trust in you.
People often say that trust is not given, it must be earned. I don’t necessarily agree with that. I believe we should start from a place of trust and allow it to authentically build over time. Key steps to ensuring and building trust among your team members include collaboration, active listening and being solution-oriented.
Collaboration is a valuable way to build trust while sparking innovation in the process. Facing challenges together and learning to problem-solve teaches team members to depend on one another, building a more open culture.
This is why it’s so important for collaboration to happen at all levels.
Finding opportunities for leaders to work directly with employees on tasks, and trust them to pull their weight, will establish stronger connections and help foster a more trustworthy and authentic organizational culture.
Another way to build trust in any relationship is to actively listen. Within the workplace, this means working to understand employee needs and expectations by asking questions regularly and listening to employee feedback. For genuine active listening to be possible, leaders must provide employees with opportunities to share their thoughts and feelings in an open and safe environment.
Consistently providing these spaces and listening to employees will not only build trust, but will often highlight any key barriers to success or opportunities to provide support. Once leaders have asked the important questions and received feedback, they should follow up on those conversations with proactive solutions. This shows all team members that they’re not only being heard, but that leadership is prioritizing finding solutions to the challenges employees are facing.
Collaborating through trust
Many organizations have been successfully operating remotely for some time now. The pandemic has taught us that no matter the challenge, employees can be trusted to get the job done—even from outside of the physical workplace. This has always been the case, but especially as the world becomes increasingly digital, maintaining this unwavering trust in employees will be vital to keeping operations running smoothly both in the short and long term.
Sustaining trust is also essential to collaborative innovation.
While this is an essential part of any successful culture, one of the most common obstacles I’ve seen is that individuals feel they can’t think divergently due to fear that their ideas may be ill-received or judged. Individuals must feel empowered to share their ideas to truly collaborate and come up with original ideas, as this is often what sparks the most creative innovation.
Benefiting from trust
Many things can be replicated—technology included—but the way you make people feel cannot. Trusted leaders not only have better relationships with their team, they also reap the rewards of an open and honest environment, which allows them to retain a talented workforce and foster a more engaged work culture.
The same can be said for developing trust and collaborating as an industry. Meeting with other industry leaders to brainstorm and discuss best practices, industry trends and how to work together to create a mutually beneficial experience is exceptionally valuable. Prioritizing this level of trust by having ongoing, honest conversations is essential, and is something we can do a lot more of in the real estate industry.
Trust is a foundational piece of leading a successful organization and actively contributing to an ever-evolving industry. At FCT, this is not taken lightly. It’s an integral part of how we run our organization, and we have found that being honest, open and trusting simply makes us — and our industry — stronger.
Daniela DeTommaso is the president of FCT. For more information, visit https://fct.ca/
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