As we discussed last week, there is one thing – one oft-overlooked and neglected little thing – that, if cultivated and nurtured properly, can change the course of working and leading from home.
Know what it is?
Here’s a hint: It’s not synergy. It’s not culture. It’s not brand identity.
It’s trust. All of the aforementioned things are decidedly and categorically critical, but all of those can’t exist without trust. Trust and just about every other mission-critical element of your organization’s success are mutually inclusive; they simply cannot exist without trust.
So here, some of our very own leaders talk about four of the greatest contributing factors to our award-winning culture laid squarely on a foundation of trust.
Know Your Why, Mission, Vision & Values
Bryan Miles, BELAY Co-Founder & Co-Chair
“We ask leading questions to determine if my employees understand the culture.
“One of the most tactical things I ask my employees to do is to give me the elevator pitch for BELAY. I expect that each employee should quickly be able to tell me what BELAY does and how we do it in thirty seconds. Every employee should be able to give me a straightforward, concise, and uniform pitch. If there is unreasonable variation, I know I am in trouble. If they can’t give me that information, then that tells me they aren’t engaged with what we are doing or our why.
“I work at casting vision and communicating my why every chance I get, and I feel like my employees appreciate it. I know I am winning at casting vision when my employees lovingly mock me about what I say. When this happens, I know that my vision is getting through to them. If you plan to migrate to a virtual workplace, you must master vision-casting.
“Your why must be gravitating and crystal clear.”
Laura McGraw, BELAY Client Relations Manager
“Trust is a small word, but it has a major impact on any kind of relationship.
“So what we encourage is that from day one, you just choose to fill all gaps with trust, knowing that you and your team are there to serve one another.
“We would even encourage you that you fill the gap with trust even before you feel like someone has earned it.
“[T]hat sounds crazy, right? But from day one, if you fill the gap with trust, the momentum will pick up big time within your relationships.
“Secondly, we are all people. So what does that mean? It’s not if but when a mistake happens or something goes wonky; it’s going to happen. And so what we would encourage is that when that happens, you again fill the gap with trust and really believe the best in that person and lead with questions.
“It’s amazing when you lead those types of conversations with questions, it eliminates more of the achy things that could creep up, like accusations. And when you just ask questions, many times you will uncover the true underlying issue.
“You can then work through it and land strong on the other side with the relationship stronger for it.”
Vulnerability & Transparency
Tricia Sciortino, BELAY CEO
“When we onboard new hires at BELAY, we require they read ‘Getting Naked’ by Patrick Lencioni.
“In it, Lencioni explains his theory regarding vulnerability and presents concrete steps for putting it to work in any organization.
“The book tells us, reminds us, implores us to be vulnerable and humble. And while it is a story about being vulnerable at work – allowing your colleagues and clients alike to see you as a vulnerable, humble servant – the principles could be applied to our personal lives, too.
“A humble leader acknowledges that every person sitting across a table from them is human – flawed, imperfect, and mortal – and that accepting our failures and shortcomings is often a tie that binds us. It humanizes us and lets others know that we, too, are flawed, imperfect and mortal – and that it’s OK.
“We’re pack animals who just want to belong. We seek tribes; we need tribes. And we will seek out connection points at every opportunity as a means of survival.
“And humility provides just such a profound connection.”
Zero-Tolerance Gossip Policy
Bryan Miles, BELAY Co-Founder & Co-Chair
“Employees are more likely to gossip when they don’t feel trusted and when leaders don’t create a clear enough vision for the business. They will wonder, ‘What am I even doing here?’
“A lack of trust creates a negative environment, and negative environments breed gossip. Gossip can come in many forms but specifically in this scenario, gossip means taking a problem to somebody who you know can do nothing about it.
“When there is no trust, employees will end up gossiping because they feel as though there is no appropriate path to fix their problems.
“[At BELAY], we have paved a broad path for our employees to take their problems to the appropriate individual. [We] do not tolerate any sort of gossip because I know that gossip just breeds more gossip.”
Four Tips, One Trusting Workplace
Establishing, building and nurturing trust in the workplace isn’t always easy – and arguably less so in a remote workplace – but with intentionality and commitment, it can yield a happier, more productive and engaged workforce.
For more on how to onboard and lead a remote workforce, check out this free resource download!