Impact Workplace Trust: Five Effective Communication Skills

November 19, 2021 by  

Without trust…people will do their jobs, but they will not offer their ideas, or their enthusiasm, or their souls.” R. C. Solomon and F. Flores, Building Trust in Business, Politics, Relationships, and Life.
In my 30 years of observing leadership behaviors, I have seen many who are effective and ineffective in leading others. No matter the years of experience, the degrees or what they do for a living, this one key factor to be true. Those who are destined for the failure of obtaining workplace trust, lack in delivering effective communication.
Modern Survey’s latest employee engagement results indicate that trust in organizational leadership remains to stagnate. Since trust is critical to achieving high performing organizations, perhaps it makes sense to take how we communicate more seriously. This also applies to those who claim to be an expert in communication. I have watched in amazement those who claim to be an expert in communication fail miserably in earning trust. They focus on pointing out others’ faults and set others up to fail but yet wonder why trust is not forthcoming. For the sake of achieving solid business results, no leader in the organization should be exempt in re-evaluating their communication ability.

Here are 5 tips for fine-tuning organizational communication:

1. Stop the speeches and walk the talk:
Hearing the words “Trust Me!” has a tendency to send red flags for many in the workplace. Why? Because trust is demonstrated and earned by action, not demanded by words. Those who make great speeches about how trust is important to them miss the point entirely and give people a reason to mistrust them. We hire smart people. Smart people observe actions. They compare actions with “talk.” From there they will determine if you are trustworthy or not. Stick with walking the talk and minimize the blind speeches about trust.

2. Consistency:
People compare stories and actions from one leader to the next. If there is an inkling of inconsistency without an acknowledgment or self-correction, then people doubt your integrity. It really is that simple.

3. What goes around comes around:
The authors of the book, “The Speed of Trust” contend that one of the chief reasons employees mistrust senior leadership is because senior leadership does not trust employees. It is better to limit criticisms, even if in a confidential meeting room. Jumping to conclusions and slaughtering people in a room with others is a dangerous practice. I have seen leaders shocked when they found out discussions in a closed boardroom got circulated among staff, despite stressing the importance of confidentiality. There are two best personal policies in meetings:
 Assume that nothing is confidential and anything you say will be repeated, texted, forwarded, shared, posted or tweeted.
 If there is an issue going on, have a private conversation with the appropriate person, as opposed to a meeting room with others. The conversation should be based on fact and objectivity, preferably with something to back it up.

4. Fact Find:
As a long time, HR professional I have learned there are so many sides to a story. It is always worth it to take a little time and get facts and uncover backup wherever possible. Yet, how many times do we witness people taking one side of a story and run with it as if it were fact. Everyone has his or her own version of reality. Take care and uncover evidence or clarify situations before taking action.
When people see that you take care of getting facts before running off like Chicken Little, trust and respect can be earned. Yahoo’s CEO, Marissa Meyer checked login records to see if telecommuters were being productive. Without getting the facts how long do you think unproductive telecommuters would have lasted? While she made an unpopular decision, people will ultimately remember that she sought facts first before leaping to action based on emotions.

5. Resolve Misunderstandings:
Misunderstandings occur regularly in the workplace. I think the action of resolving misunderstandings is crucial and is often overlooked. I have heard many times, “They will get over it.” When it comes to trust development, people don’t just “get over it” if the misunderstanding(s) is perceived as significant and unresolved.

There are a number of reasons why employees do not trust senior leaders. However, a culture of trust and integrity starts at the top. If “the top” builds their team with “yes” people and those who don’t adopt effective communication skills, then achieving respect and trust from employees and ultimately seeing business result traction, will remain evasive. As a leader, if you invest in communication skill building, walk the walk, surround yourself with fact-based truth-tellers, and demonstrate communication consistency, workplace trust can be earned.


Five Unique Ways to Keep Your Staff Happy

November 4, 2021 by  

Have you ever thought about your employees’ happiness? Indeed, this is a thought that hardly crosses many bosses. Yet, when dealt with, it can shift a business’ production to the next level. Happiness at the workplace doesn’t only come by ensuring timely monthly paychecks. It is about how the workers feel as they execute their duties.

Once you have a happy team, you are sure that each day they come to work, the workers are determined to make a difference, and the opposite is true. Here are some ideas that can kick-start you in this journey of creating a happy working ambient.

Keep Your Employees Updated
If you listen to most employees keenly, you will note one constant complaint. They have no clue what happens within the company and only get involved in the most significant events. As a result, the workers are not even sure how they are supposed to flow with these events. Although some company info is limited to certain ranks, you can use your wisdom to know to what extent you can keep your employees informed to feel involved in the major activities. It may not be a significant gesture, but it works wonders in making the workers feel important and valued.

Your Employees Are Adults, Treat Them That Way
It is vital to make your employees realize that you trust their guts. So, the worst you can do is monitor every move or step they make. Avoid constant correction, criticism and watch out for your language when correcting someone. For instance, try not to refer to workers as being useless or good for nothing as such terms will lower the morale of your employees. More so, you interviewed each worker and found it fit to hire them, so it may not be necessary always to supervise the employees. Do well to give them the space they deserve.

Offer Benefits That Count
It is one thing to offer employee benefits and giving employee benefits that count. You arrive at giving benefits that count by surveying the office to get a clue of what your workers would wish to have as a benefit. Is it paternity leave, club membership, or a daycare facility at work? You will be surprised to discover some ideas that may have never crossed your mind.
The problem with making this call is that you could provide an expensive benefit that the employees rarely use, so they are not happy about it. So, listen to their ideas, create changes where possible, and this way, you will have a happy team.

Do Not Generalize Employees
Your children at home have different interests and personalities, and so do employees. So, it is not fair to treat them as equals or in general. Instead, try to create a more personal touch by exercising one-on-one conversations, which should not necessarily be based on the wrong things that have happened. Make random visits in your workers’ offices and spare a few minutes to catch up on their progress, how they are faring on, and the challenges they are facing. This way, the workers will feel important, and they’ll always be happy to have you as their boss.

Recognize and Reward Employees When Necessary
While ego will not allow some bosses to praise their workers, others tend to think that acknowledging employees because of a job well done is a means of making them feel full of themselves. But this is not the case. Instead, workers feel energized, happy and determined to keep up with the good work.

Apart from praising, you can also develop a recognition program for employees who stand out in their operations. You may invest in meaningful gifts within the company’s budget, and that small gesture will take your business a long way.

The productivity of employees increases when they are happy. Hence, you can easily tell how your business is doing by analyzing the happiness of your workers. And on humanitarian grounds, managing to keep your workers happy is one of the most rewarding feelings you can experience. CEOs who manage to attain this culture leave a tradition that the business benefits from for many years. Once you facilitate growth, transparency, and opportunities for your employees, you will have happy workers at all times.