May 9, 2023
Building trust is imperative for organizations, especially during times of economic uncertainty. When trust is present, it can help to stabilize relationships, foster cooperation, and increase confidence amongst teams, clients, and key stakeholders. While trust is the bedrock of team success, there is no doubt that building it is especially important during times of economic turbulence, where uncertainty and risk can cause team members and stakeholders to become cautious and resistant.
Leaders should prioritize building trust because it’s good for morale. Even more so, it’s good for business. Trust generates resilience and confidence within any company, organization, or community among those key to its success.
Trust strengthens relationships
So here’s what is obvious: trust is the foundation of any healthy relationship between organizations and their stakeholders. When those with a vested interest also trust a business, they are more likely to be supportive and authentically interested in its success. This can lead to stronger partnerships and boosted collaboration.
Trust fosters resilience
Building trust can help businesses weather economic uncertainty by creating a sense of ownership and belonging. When stakeholders have confidence in the relationship, they are more likely to remain committed and engaged, even during difficult times. Trust allows an organization to maintain momentum and overcome inevitable, unpredictable obstacles.
Trust boosts confidence
Economic uncertainty can create fear and doubt for businesses and their stakeholders. By building trust, leaders can help alleviate these concerns and boost confidence, increasing investment, stronger partnerships, and more significant growth opportunities.
As many of us know, trust is not easily won by everyone. Part of being a leader is to engage your team and those with whom you collaborate in a way that demonstrates a genuine effort to connect and foster a positive relationship. If you are a leader, there are some concrete and specific steps that you can take to build trusting relationships in your organization.
Step One: Identify the levels of trust in your relationships
Let’s face it; some people are more complicated to work with than others. That’s okay. That’s life. Without playing the blame game, take time to note down mentally those relationships where trust is not there, whether it’s an adversarial one or one of indifference.
Also note where the relationships are solid, those who you go to with ideas, possibilities, doubts, and concerns. Those are high-trust relationships, and it’s essential to put effort into maintaining them too.
Step Two: Develop an approach and strategy for different relationships based on the level of trust
Relationships with different levels of trust require different approaches. For example, strategies and methods exist to build trust with people with whom we do not connect or agree. It starts with connecting with people without judgment, valuing others’ points of view, and finding instances of agreement and similarities instead of differences. Part of any strategy that must deal with trust is an acknowledgment of what role you play within the relationship. Leaders who wish to approach building trust with intention must start with a willingness to let their guard down and be vulnerable.
“I can create a high-trust environment any time I want. All I must realize is that I am creating the environment in which I live,” explained Peter Block in the article Trust in Whom. ”We are afraid of being naïve and a fool if we continue to trust in the face of others’ betrayal. Well, what is so great about being strategic and clever? And what is so wrong about being a fool? Maybe being willing to be a fool is the exact means of creating the high-trust world that we each long for.”
Step Three: Plan and practice conversations that matter
The starting point for action and change is conversation. The quality of how you are with others matters even more than the expertise you each bring. That said, holding trust-building conversations requires authenticity, vulnerability, and a learned communication skillset that takes practice.
In a time of uncertainty, trust is an invaluable resource, and it requires action and intention from the side of leaders who depend on it to achieve successful outcomes. In Flawless Conversations: Building Trusting Relationships, learn how to plan for conversations that inspire not only a shift within your one-on-one relationships but can even empower broader transformation within your team, organization, and beyond.