Anne was perplexed and confused.
She had joined Softmicro two months back. Softmicro was a big software solutions provider and it has offices all across the globe. Anne had joined the Technology team as a Senior Project Manager - five Project Managers reported to her and her total team size was about 250 people.
Anne's experience was in managing large enterprise project development , implementation and delivery. She was a part of the Quality Circle where she had implemented lots of innovative ideas in the organization. In her 18 years of work experience, she had well rounded knowledge about most of the aspects of corporate functions. She was a great team player and the most sought after Manager in her previous organizations.
After a year of sabbatical, she joined Softmicro with great zeal and renewed vigour. At the first meeting , Neena - her boss told her "Anne, beware of the people under you ... they are all work shirkers . Deal with them with a strict hand. They have a tendency to spin stories and waste time...".
Anne had tried to follow Neena's advise. But after a few weeks , her experienced eyes sensed something amiss. She could feel an atmosphere of "They vs. Us". Her direct reports did not open up with her. There was an important project delivery two weeks back , but her team missed the deadline. The risk of schedule variance was evident, but it was not brought to her not brought to her notice. Neena was upset. And so was Anne.
Her job was at stake.
A heavy layer of "distrust" pervaded in the air.....
Anne went to the cafe below and ordered a cup of Indian lassi . The sweet, frothy drink made from whisking yogurt and water , with a cube of ice on it seemed to soothe her senses.
She pulled out her mobile and called up her mentor - Bala.
Bala answered within two rings .
"Anne... ! I knew you would call me today..." Bala's nasal South Indian accent made Anne cheerful in a jiffy.
"Bala ! Ok ... If you are a clairvoyant, then tell me why I have called you up ..?" She egged him
"Well , well ... problems at work ... what else .... ha , ha... " Bala's trademark full throated laughter resounded on the phone.
After a minutes silence , Anne said "Bala ... need your guidance ... desperately.."
Anne narrated her story.
"Hmmm ... the same problem prevalent everywhere ... of trust... Anne, let us meet today, at 7 pm".
In the evening , Bala gave the following sermon to Anne.
Trust is an essential part in managing people and building a high-performance organisation. It's the foundation upon which all relationships are built. As in any relationship, trust is central to stable and productive workplace relations and successful team building initiatives. High trust environments correlate positively with high degree of employee involvement, performance management, commitment and organizational success. If trust is present in the workplace, the organization gets maximum effort and commitment, and the employees receive security and know they are appreciated.
Trust is strongly linked to attributes such as caring for colleagues, actively involving them in the company's vision, mentoring, role modeling and inspirational motivation.
The more high tech, impersonal and sophisticated organizations become, the greater the need for leaders who can build a culture of trust in the organization.
Smaller organizations consistently rated higher on job satisfaction, commitment, trust, loyalty and respect.
Creating smaller business units, flattening the management structure, involving staff in decision making and opening up timely and transparent channels of communication is central to creating trust in organizations.
"Anne, create trust ... else you will fail. The Triangle of Trust is the buzzword now "
The three sides of the triangle are these :
Self-Trust - Inner Trust
Self-trust is based on acceptance of yourself and your own inner intuition and wisdom. It is that deep, intuitive sense or gut feeling about something. If you follow your inner intuition, your self-trust is high. Trust comes out of the experience of pursuing what is true. What is true lies within each of us.
Self-trust is at the core of trusting others and being trustworthy.
"Anne, do you trust yourself ?"
Trustworthiness - Being Worthy of Trust
Usually when we think of trust, we think in terms of trusting others. But how trustworthy are you in others eyes?
- Do you follow through on your promises?
- Do you act with integrity?
- Are you honest, caring and reliable?
- Do you have the competence or skills to carry out the task at hand?
- Do you fulfill others' expectations of you?
- You are worthy of others trust if you score high in these areas.
"Anne, how do you score on these questions ?"
Trusting others is based on expectations. It is like a bank where we deposit goodwill. We typically trust someone if we know they will fulfill our expectations. We each have a set of characteristics, known only to us, of someone who we deem worthy of trust. Our degree of comfort with trust is also based on whether we see the world as a friendly, safe place or a hostile, unsafe place. The more we see the world as basically friendly and safe, the more open we will be to trusting others. The reverse is true if we see the world as unsafe and unfriendly.
"Bala... I knew I could trust you to help me " Anne smiled.
"Any time, my dear lady ... and good luck with Trust .... "