TRUST: THE COMPETENCY IN THE DIGITAL AGE
From elected leaders to the news media, and from once-trusted institutions in business to organised religion, there has been a steady decline in public confidence over the past several decades.
Increasingly, leaders are rediscovering trust as they begin to see it with new eyes. Looking beyond the common view of trust as some soft, intangible and illusive social virtue, they’re learning to see it as a critical, highly relevant and tangible asset. They’re discovering that trust affects everything within an organisation, every dimension, activity, decision and relationship. They’re also beginning to recognise that trust is quite possibly the single most powerful and influential lever for leaders and organisations today. In this light, it is important to look at trust and see it differently as a competency.
We live in a “collaborative economy,” and the interdependent dimensions it requires — collaboration, partnering, teaming and relationships — thrive or die based on the presence or absence of trust.
I believe we can do something about trust. In fact, my work as a Reina Trust Building Master Practitioner has convinced me that there is a lot we can do about it. We can increase trust, and much faster than we might think. And doing so will have a huge impact, both in the quality of our organisations and in the results we’re able to achieve.
Trust has almost always been seen as a value and many organisations name trust or some derivative of trust as one of their values. However we’re now beginning to see companies include trust (e.g., the ability to engender trust) in their competency models or equivalents. They’re starting to recognise that trust is something they can consciously work to improve. And it’s showing up increasingly in generic competency models, as well, whether the competency is called “creates trust” or “inspires trust” or “trusts people”. As Starbucks founder and CEO Howard Schultz said to all Starbucks’ partners, “Trust the coffee and trust one another.” Seeing trust as a competency is a highly valuable organisational perspective because competencies and competency models always have been critical to driving organisational development and improvement.
In this context, let me go even further to say that the ability to establish, grow, extend and restore trust with all stakeholders, customers, business partners, investors and co-workers is significant for success and the key leadership competency of any successful company in this digital global economy. In fact, there is no leadership without trust. There may be management. There may be administration. But as Warren Bennis said, “Leadership without mutual trust is a contradiction in terms.” Indeed, the first job of any leader is to inspire trust.
I feel trust provides a canvass that greatly accelerates an organisation's improvement because high trust makes every other competency better. Building Trust has become a particularly important competency for organisations that are undergoing change efforts. Building Trust also plays a critical role in supporting an empowering organisational culture. If you like to know more about trust in the workplace and why it’s so important, you can drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org