Thursday, July 20, 2006

Trust is contagious

Business Times p.B2
Thursday, July 20, 2006

By Moje Ramos-Aquino, FPM
Trust is contagious

TRUST building is at the core of the work of a leader. Establishing trust is an important step to enabling you and everyone in your entire organization to take more physical and emotional risks.

According to authors Robert Galford and Anne Seibold Drapeau, leaders who cultivate a culture of trust reap identifiable advantages. Some of which are: trust frees people, fuels passion, provides focus, fosters innovation, gives people time to get things right and lowers costs.

The other benefit of trusted leadership is that it is contagious. Everyone in your organization knows it when they are trusted and they are bound to trust in return. The internal trust helps build more of it up and down your supply chain, from vendors to customers. Trust inside builds trust outside.

Trust is empowering. Frontliners, particularly, need all the trust they could get from their leaders to serve customers best. Frontline leaders, likewise, need the trust of higher management in order to serve their subordinates better.

I really like to shop, for example, in a place where the salespeople could make decisions on discounts, returns and others without having to call the manager or cringe in fear of consequences of their action. These critical incidents tell me how much trust management has on their service providers.

When there is no trust, you can be certain the owners/leaders of the establishment have not gone on vacation even for a single day since day one of their operation.

According to Galford and Drapeau, “trusted leadership helps recruit people who are on the same wavelength. When people are genuinely enthusiastic about where they work (because they are trusted), it is much easier for them and for the organization to engage with prospective employees and convey exactly what the organization is about. Trusted leadership helps make the right match between people with great experience and skill and your organization.”

Corollary, trusted leadership helps retain great employees. “Whenever someone leaves one organization for another or to pursue independent work, the move is usually motivated more by issues of personal and organization trust than it is by issues of compensation or title.”

It is often said, because of our labor laws, that you could simply mark time until your retirement; you don’t need to be a great contributor to the success of your organization. But you could get fired anytime or fire somebody readily because of lack of trust.

People join organizations; they leave leaders they don’t trust. Remember it costs more to recruit, hire and develop new employees than to maintain great ones.

The implications are enormous according to the book Trusted Leadership, “Consider the average tenure for employees has decline in the past 20 years. People in every single age group, 25-64, spent less time with the same employer. In some cases, the median tenure with employers dropped by as much as two years a person. If most of the people who shift jobs are doing so because of trust issues, they’re naturally moving on more cautiously. They’re jaded, suspicious going forward, less likely to extend trust in their next work environment. Lack of trusted leadership has potentially broad societal and cultural, psychological and emotional impact that are genuinely frightening to consider.”

Finally, trusted leadership improves the quality of work. “With trusted leadership, there is teamwork. With teamwork, people help one another do the business of the company; improved quality is a natural byproduct.”

Trust is vital in establishing an atmosphere of safe, honest participation for people to become contributors.

Again, Taiwan is inviting to their Summit on Globalization of Human Resources 2006 in Taipei this September 22 and 23. Please go to for details or e-mail to

Moje, president of Paradigms & Paradoxes Corp., could be reached at

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