“It’s not about being easy on your employees or expecting less from them. High-trust companies hold people accountable but without micromanaging them. They treat people like responsible adults” – Paul J Zak – Neuro science of Trust
The quote above gives the foundation of an employee centric culture it must come from a layer of trust. Zak outlines in his article the eight behaviours he believes create a high trust culture:-
- Recognise excellence – this works best when it is tangible, unexpected, personal and publicly recognised
- Induce “challenge stress” – a goal that is achievable, with a stretch element and you can chart progress
- Give people discretion in how they do their work – autonomy
- Enable job crafting – don’t confine people by job titles
- Share information broadly – no informations creates uncertainty and breaks trust
- Intentionally build relationships – focus on people rather than tasks
- Facilitate the whole person growth – adopt a growth mindset and look beyond where they are now
- Show vulnerability – as a Leader demonstrate humility
Zak’s work involved measuring levels of oxytocin, which gives an indication of trustworthiness. In a small rodent brain oxytocin is released if it is safe for another rodent to approach. If the animal was scared it inhibits the release of oxytocin. His studies on humans proved that stress inhibits oxytocin and the antidote is empathy. The basis of empathy is a “damn good listening to”, going beyond just actively listening to empathetically listening. This means absorbing the content intellectually and emotionally.
Brene Brown also advocates that trust is a foundation from her book Dare to Lead. She states very clearly that you can’t have courage without vulnerability. In order to run or rumble with vulnerability you have to have tough conversations, which are best placed if there is a layer of trust. Employees should live into their own values and the values of the organisation. She uses a mnemonic of BRAVING as detailed below:-
Boundaries: You respect my boundaries, and when you’re not clear about what’s okay and not okay, you ask. You’re willing to say no.
Reliability: You do what you say you’ll do. At work, this means staying aware of your competencies and limitations so you don’t overpromise and are able to deliver on commitments and balance competing priorities.
Accountability: You own your mistakes, apologise, and make amends.
Vault: You don’t share information or experiences that are not yours to share.
Integrity: You choose courage over comfort. You choose what is right over what is fun, fast, or easy. And you choose to practice your values rather than simply professing them.
Nonjudgment: I can ask for what I need, and you can ask for what you need. We can talk about how we feel without judgment. We can ask each other for help without judgment.
Generosity: You extend the most generous interpretation possible to the intentions, words, and actions of others. Generosity is closely related to judgment and is in fact the opposite.
In summary Brene Brown says that organisations need to cultivate a culture of brave work and tough conversations.
Think about how you are embracing trust within your culture and put your employees first.
Please do get in touch for a workshop on the content above, called “It’s good to share, talk and listen…” firstname.lastname@example.org