‘Few things can help an individual more than to place responsibility on him, and to let him know that you trust him.’
– Booker T. Washington
There is one thing – one oft-overlooked and neglected little thing – that, if cultivated and nurtured properly, can change the course of your business. Think you know what it is?
Here’s a hint: It’s not synergy. It’s not culture. It’s not brand identity. It’s not foosball in the breakroom.
It’s trust. All of the aforementioned things are decidedly and categorically critical, and the foosball table is just awesome – don’t get us wrong – but all of those can’t exist without trust. Trust and just about every other mission-critical element of your business’ success are mutually inclusive; they simply cannot exist without trust.
Think it sounds like new-age, nebulous, nuanced corporate speak? Think again. Consider that employees in self-described ‘high-trust workplaces’ report that they are …
- 106 percent more energetic at work
- 76 percent more engaged with their jobs
- 74 percent less stressed
- 13 percent less likely to take sick days
- 29 percent more satisfied with life in general*
*‘With life in general’ is important to note as every aspect of our lives is connected and interwoven. Our professional lives and personal lives don’t exist in vacuums.
These are remarkable statistics, giving tangible and quantifiable weight to an otherwise abstract feeling.
How Delegation Benefits a Team
You can tell someone you trust them, but if you’re not putting your money – and their paycheck – where your mouth is, it amounts to nothing more than lip service. You can tell your teenage child that you trust them to drive your car, but if you never hand over the keys, your actions paint a different picture.
At work and in life, trust is a currency. And just like a currency, it can be earned and saved over time – and depleted in seconds.
So how can leaders show their trust? Delegation.
And not the ‘dumping-busy-work-on-someone-and-micromanaging’ kind of way. But the kind of delegation that entrusts people with key projects, offering support only as needed. This, incidentally, also benefits from the same compounding, multiplying effect as currency – the more you invest and entrust, the more you equip the employees of today to be the great leaders of tomorrow.
Because when you teach an employee how to do a task – equipping them with the necessary tools, skills and information – and delegate responsibility, you are showing them that you trust them; your actions say, ‘I trust you to do a good job.’
To earn, build, and compound trust with your employees, start by asking yourself the following questions. If you answer ‘no,’ then consider those action items to improve upon.
- Do you treat employees like business partners? If not, start by asking for their input – and listen.
- Are you true to your word? If not, make sure when you say you’ll do something that you actually do it.
- Are you proactive in delivering your contributions? If not, start anticipating your responsibilities that impact how others do their jobs, and deliver on them – without being asked or hunted down.
- Do you ask for help? If not, consider asking as needed to let your employees know that you value how their role and input contribute to the success of the business.
Delegation: The Building Blocks of Trust
Building a culture of trust is the single most important goal you can have as a leader. Employees in high-trust organizations are more productive, more energetic, more collaborative, stay with their employers longer, and take ownership of their work and the outcomes of the company as a whole.
So take that leap of trust – trust in your ability to hire world-class employees and their ability to do exactly what you entrusted to them in the first place – and be prepared to reap the rewards.
Are you wondering who on your team is ready to take on more?