Innovation and trust go hand in hand in innovative organizations. Without trust, youll be struggling to create an innovative culture. If you expect your employees to follow your example and create innovative organization, they need to trust you. Can they? Based on your past record do they have reason not to trust you? Building trust in an organization is of course a two-way issue. You need to be able to trust your staff. If you cant, youre in big trouble if you expect the organization to grow. Stephen MR Covey has written a great book on trust. (Hes the son of Stephen Covey who wrote 7 Habits of Highly Successful People.) Stephen MR Coveys book on trust is called Leadership at the Speed of Trust. Covey offers a comprehensive list of tactics and strategies that will help an organization develop trust, and I recommend his book. Trust is not only important between you and your staff but also between your staff and other divisions. Its both vertical and horizontal. When you create a clear vision for your organization and you do a good job at communicating it, you need the organization to trust the vision and trust you to stick to it. Authority versus responsibility One way to develop trust is review what your role as a senior manager is really all about. On many occasions Ive seen leaders become confused about their role in terms of authority and responsibility. It seems a long time ago now but once upon a time, I was the assistant manager of a small radio station in Sydney, Australia. Just about every week, the same studio supervisor would knock on my door and enter my office to discuss his authority. He believed that because he was a supervisor, he had authority. I dont buy that philosophy. My own is that seniority does not equate to authority. Rather, seniority bestows responsibility on a leader. Having someone who takes responsibility rather than someone who imposes authority is far more valuable to an organization. Seeing yourself as responsible for your organization and staff is powerfully different to seeing yourself as having authority over the organization and its people. This will affect everything from your decisions to your behavior. And it will influence the trust your staff have in you. Be open and collaborate I am always impressed by senior leaders who refer to their staff as colleagues. It creates a real sense of openness and sharing. Trust, communication and creativity are all very closely related when you lead an organization. The better your skills of communication and collaboration, the easier you will find it to help your colleagues meet your vision. Creative organizations are open, collaborative and based on networking rather than hierarchy. Its the old story of not what you know but who you know. As a leader, make sure you create opportunities for staff to learn from you and each other. Team days often work very well. Buying your team a round of drinks at the pub after work is equally effective. Team days If youre doing a team day, ask members of your team to lead these. Make sure they appeal to the personalities and interests of people in the group. Dont do fun if you know fun turns people off instead be serious. Some people hate being forced to attend touchy-feely team-days and away-days. So let them decide how they will meet up and network. I was asked to teach communication to a group of cynical media practitioners for their team day. There were 70 of them. I spent the morning teaching them Salsa dancing. And ran a pub quiz in the afternoon. What was important about this particular team day was people needed to get to know and talk to each other. It did wonders in terms of opening channels for collaboration. Look for opportunities where relationships can develop so people feel free to share ideas and bounce off of others thoughts. This will help stir the creative spirit in your organization. Remember: trust your staff and allow them to trust you It cant be emphasized enough how important trust is for your organization. Too many workers are disgruntled about their work environment and dont trust their bosses. All of this condemns their organizations to mediocrity. One survey found 50% of workers in North America wanted to change jobs. Further research has shown that one of the main reasons people change their jobs is because of their boss. Innovative organizations run on trust.
Originally published on June 17, 2011 by SpeakerMatch Speakers Bureau