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Trust: The Backbone of Organizational Success, by Jacob the Intern

When considering the factors that are directly related to the success of a business, the words that quickly come to mind are innovation, creativity, hard work and communication. But none of those aims can be reached without the most important aspect in a business, a concept that is often neglected and ignored: trust. Every business or organization should strive to gain the trust of its employees in order to guarantee success by allowing employees to take risks and think in new ways. A recently published article in Executive Edge titled “What Creates a High-Trust Work Environment” highlights key factors in how to establish trust, as well as the importance of trust that employees have in their employer. The article highlights three different aspects of trust – supports one’s priorities, protects one’s self-interests, and ensures respect for one’s values – and goes into extensive detail about the potential benefits a company can see by establishing a strong, trusting relationship along all three of these levels, and how to best go about doing this.

Although I’m relatively young, I have worked in a number of different environments for many different supervisors who have applied a variety of leadership styles, some which have fostered a trusting relationship, and some which have not. I spent several summers working at an overnight camp, where I had the pleasure to work for a supervisor one summer who greatly invested in his staff. Every day, my boss would challenge us, the counselors, to be innovative, think outside the box, and take risks. Yes, we were just planning activities for children and not working in a particularly professional environment. But the effects of his trust in us had a tremendous impact on the quality of the summer we were able to provide to the campers. Instead of being afraid that an idea wouldn’t work out, I felt energized to do my best to ensure that my risk would become a success. I knew that if I failed in an endeavor, my supervisor would encourage me to continue down the same creative path, providing advice that would lead to better success in the future. The article stresses the importance leadership always looking ahead when providing feedback, rather than focusing on the failures of the past. Negativity over things that cannot be changed will cause employees to become defensive and less likely to seek out new ways to solve problems.

The article does a good job of tying the concept of trust to financial success. “When trust goes up in a relationship, on a team, in a company, or in a country, speed goes up and cost goes down.” This is a statement that cannot be ignored. The logic used to arrive at this conclusion is sound and applicable to any and all industries. When there is a lack of trust in a company, “everything takes more time, and miscommunication, redundancy and rework create costly delays.” In 2013, those type of delays separate the companies who make it and those who don’t.

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