The student body at Rutgers trusted the Athletic Director to hire a good leader to coach basketball. Even with the AD's resignation, will the student body ever be so trusting again? Probably not. They will attend basketball practice camera ready. Trust takes time to build but is destroyed in seconds or in the length of time it takes to make a video and post it on the internet.
E. Building Trust and Cohesion
When high levels of trust exist, associates are more willing and naturally accepting of motivation and motivation is more likely to occur in multiple directions. Trust encompasses reliance upon others, confidence in their abilities, and consistency in behavior. Trust builds over time through mutual respect, shared understanding, and common experiences. Communication contributes to trust by
keeping others informed, establishing expectations, and developing commitments. Sustaining trust depends on meeting those expectations and commitments. Leader/managers and associates earn or lose trust through everyday actions and attitudes.
In a recent survey published in AARP Magazine, only 3% of those surveyed in the age group 18-49 say they trust their corporate CEO. Of those over 50, the percentage is 5%. Those are sad numbers. CEOs destroy trust whenever they do things like tell employees they are the company’s most important asset and then have layoffs. They destroy trust when they have a hiring freeze and withhold employee bonuses while taking a huge bonus for themselves. They destroy trust when they
negotiate mergers and sell outs in secret. Of course, they do this in secret so that rumors do not lower the value of their stock, much of which they are hoping to sell at a profit.
It is important for leader/managers to promote trust by identifying areas of common interest and goals. Leader/managers who coach, counsel, and mentor (Chapter 10) associates establish close relationships that foster trust. These relationships built on trust enable leader/managers to empower associates, encourage initiative, reinforce accountability, and allow for open communication. Further, these relationships establish predictability and cohesion within the team.
Failure to cultivate a climate of trust or a willingness to tolerate discrimination or harassment on any basis erodes cohesion and breaks the trust associates have for their leader/managers. Unethical behavior, favoritism, personal biases, and poor communication skills erode trust. Broken trust often creates suspicion, doubt, and distrust. Restoring broken trust is not a simple process. It requires
significant effort on the part of all parties affected.
Teamwork, based on commitment to the group, builds trust. Teams develop trust through
cooperation, identification with other members, and contribution to the team effort. Trust means that others will act for the team and keep its interests ahead of their own. Leader/managers should integrate new team members with this commitment in mind.
Leader/managers shape cohesive teams by setting and maintaining high standards. Positive
climates exist where good, consistent performance is the norm. This is not the same as a climate where perfectionism or zero defects is the expectation. The team should appreciate a concentrated, honest effort even when the results are incomplete. They should feel that their leader recognizes value in every opportunity as a means to learn and improve. Effective leader/managers recognize
that reasonable setbacks and failures occur whether the team does everything right or not.
If the relationship between leader and followers is one of mutual trust and respect, then the outcomes will get better and better. However, if the relationship is one of animosity, resentment, or even fear, the effects will be negative.