The following is a guest blog post by Sarah Kalicki-Nakamura and Cindy Sakai, co-owners of TH!NK. TH!NK leadership development and training resources in Hawaii help leaders create workplaces where people love coming to work. To learn about how to develop trust in your organization, please visit www.think-training.com.
“Trust is the essence of leadership.”
That’s what former US Secretary of State Colin Powell once said and, in Hawaii, this statement has never been truer. Facing a tough economic climate and a limited supply of local customers and employees, organizations rely on repeat business and high worker retention — trust being the key to both.
In the recent years of the sub-prime mortgage meltdown, government bailouts, and financial crisis, consumer and employee trust in leadership was devastated. In fact, a 2009 study of over 1,000 Harvard Business Review readers found that an incredible 76 percent of respondents said they trusted senior managers of U.S. companies less than they did a year ago.
Trust is no longer a factor that people take for granted. Managers must put in hard work to earn, build and maintain trust with stakeholders – but doing so yields huge results in the form of passionate employees, increased sales, additional referrals and repeat business.
So what can Hawaii business leaders do to build trusting relationships with employees and customers? This is exactly the type of question that TH!NK, in partnership with Keith Ayers, CEO of Integro Leadership Institute, strives to answer. Here are three ideas we promote:
- Respect Above All Else – The most basic need that virtually all employees and consumers desire is the need to feel respected. It is the foundation on which the rest of the relationship is built.
- Communication and Consistency – Integro has identified eight values that build trust in the workplace – each value fits into the category of communication or consistency. Leaders need to be open and receptive and make sure their actions are congruent with their words.
- Employee Needs Are the Organization’s – Some managers think their own needs are the same as the organization’s needs. The reality is quite different: satisfying worker needs is far more important to success of the organization.
It is vital for Hawaii’s business leaders to recognize that strong levels of engagement are observed in workplaces where there are high levels of trust. For this reason, managers should make sure that they are being respectful in all of their communications with their employees and customers, with a laser-like focus on meeting the needs of both groups.