Trust is one of the hardest things to gain and easiest to lose. It is the basis for all relationships – personal and professional. Earning the trust of employees and customers is one of the most difficult yet extremely important aspects of business.
An organization can have all the strengths and benefits in the world – solid products, financial backing, skilled employees and more – but without trust, the business won’t go very far. So, it is very important to run a organization in positive direction.
In the early days of my business, I shifted operations to Gujarat from Churu, Rajasthan. It was a big step for many reasons but mainly because I wanted to work with the local tribal people in the area. Gaining their trust was one of the most difficult yet rewarding experiences of my life.
The Gujarati tribal were very distrustful of outsiders but I worked tirelessly to earn their respect, in turn, worked effortlessly to produce beautiful handmade rugs that are appreciated around the world.
Trust is something that does not cost a penny but without it there is no point in doing anything, let alone try to run a successful and meaningful business. David Horsager, author of “The Trust Edge: How Top Leaders Gain Faster Results, Deeper Relationships, and a Stronger Bottom Line,” argues that the best leaders have one thing in common: trust.
“Leaders who inspire trust garner better output, morale, retention, innovation, loyalty, and revenue, while mistrust fosters skepticism, frustration, low productivity, lost sales, and turnover,” Horsager wrote in a 2012 article that appeared in Forbes. “Trust affects a leader’s impact and the company’s bottom line more than any other single thing.”
Horsager adds that there are several qualities that leaders should have in order to gain the trust of their customers and employees. Three of Horsager’s ideas stand out, in my opinion.
The first is clarity. Having a clear and strong mission statement, overall purpose and expectations is the first step in obtaining a positive response from employees. If they know what is expected, they know what to do and how to perform.
Second is compassion. Caring about others is one of the most overlooked aspects of life. Taking interest in others’ lives and problems shows them that you are a person worthy of trust and loyalty. When employees and customers feel that you care about them, there isn’t anything they won’t do for you.
The last important quality is consistency. Doing things in the same manner over a long period of time builds trusts and shows others that you are dependable. Consistency goes a long way in proving to employees and customers that you are honest and principled.
I recently wrote about conducting business in a more responsible and humanitarian way. The business world was turned upside down after the financial meltdown in 2008 and companies are working to regain the trust of the people.
This is such a difficult thing to do as the reputation of the business world was severely damaged by those few individuals who only had their own interests in mind. We all must work together to build back the trust that was lost.
A beginning point of this journey is to ensure that our employees can trust us as leaders. It will take time, effort and patience but the results will have a long-lasting and worthwhile impact.
Nand Kishore Chaudhary (NKC)
Weaver, Thinker, Doer