What makes trust so important to employees and how can leaders ensure that they not only develop it but also maintain it over the long-term?
When we talk about trust in the financial world, many professionals are aware of its importance to employees in the sector. However, for those in executive jobs, developing and maintaining trust is often easier said than done.
Trust is not only difficult to earn, it is also easy to lose. Yet, it is fundamental to an organisation’s success. On the other hand, mistrust can lead to employees thinking solely about themselves and ignoring their organisation, which can damage or restrict the development of an engaging corporate culture.
Building trust is one of the most important management skills.
Interestingly, Australian workers are aware of the positive impact trust can have on their own development. Sunsuper’s 2016 Employee Insights Report found that Australian workers ranked trust second in a list of top leadership qualities, with 23 per cent saying that trust was what they valued most in a leader.
Leaders in the finance industry then should be continually looking to build ongoing trust with employees, but how can this be done? To help put theory into practice, here are three ways financial leaders can consistently develop and sustain trust in the long-term.
1: Put your money where your mouth is
Research from the Pennington Performance Group found that the number one behaviour that causes mistrust while at work is leaders not following through with what they said they would do.
From deadlines to sanctioning leave, leaders are expected to not just talk the talk, but also walk the walk. If employees are offered words that are not backed up by actions, a leader’s integrity can be dented. And with Sunspear’s report showing Australians value a leader’s integrity over anything else, this can be a massive obstacle to building trust with your workers.
2: Build clear communication pathways
When it comes to leadership qualities, communication is a skill that has and always will be important. Specifically, trust cannot flow unless leaders and managers talk and engage with their finance workers.
Speaking to the Ivey Business Journal, communications expert at Mercer Inc Jodi Macpherson pointed out that communications is crucial to trust.
“It contributes to the creation of an environment of trust around leaders that enables them to lead effectively, engage employees and ultimately deliver results,” she said.
Communicating is essential for building trust and rapport.
But communication is not just for team leaders and lower ranked individuals, it is also essential for C-Suiters too. Former CEO of Maritime Life William Black said that communicating is one of the top leadership qualities all CEOs should have.
“A very substantial part of your accountability as a CEO is to communicate with stakeholders such as employees and customers. People want the CEO to communicate the strategic issues – the ‘big picture’ questions. For things happening at the corporate level, they want to hear it from the top,” he said.
3: Stick to your vision
When people move into leadership roles, they can find it hard to keep hold of their personal values. Many believe they need to adapt to the new environment and take on the dominant mantra. While no one is arguing that being flexible is a bad thing, the ability to keep hold of your values is just as important.
In the face of increasing pressure and a greater focus on corporate responsibility, many companies in the financial sector have made major strides to embrace a culture where ethics is first and foremost. Yet, while organisational values may provide a robust and useful framework, the ethical standards of a company ultimately come down to the example set by its leaders.
For leaders looking to steer engaged and efficient teams, trust is an essential element. By developing effective communication pathways and following through on your commitments – especially if they relate to your personal values – leaders in the financial sector can ensure that their employees trust their actions and are committed to the organisation in general.
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