Business leaders often wonder how they can foster innovation to remain competitive against rival organizations. However, the secret to innovation is not hiring the right employees or investing in the latest technology. It is much simpler than that. The single most important quality that businesses need to transform their field is trust.
If employees do not trust company leadership or each other, problems will accumulate and innovation will stagnate. This is because distrust adds layers of additional steps such as seeking approval to move on to the next stage of a project or verifying other employees did their part of the assignment. It also creates a fear to push the envelope and try a new strategy.
Mistakes That Destroy Trust
Businesses that struggle to break out of their old business model mold or suffer from a lack of creativity may have a trust problem. The following are the most common mistakes business leaders make that crush trust.
- Not following through on promises. This one seems obvious, but managers and business owners rarely set out to break their word. Sometimes, time schedules conflict or priorities shift and company leaders have to retract a promise. However, habitually going back on assurances or outright lying will decimate trust in a heartbeat. It takes a long time to build trust but only one broken promise to destroy it.
- Placing a premium on compliance over end goals. Several airlines made major headlines for all the wrong reasons in the past year alone. Conflicts with passengers resulting in injuries and bad press were the direct result of rigid guidelines. Those airlines drilled it into their employees that the rules are sacred and they should never deviate from them. However, it is common sense that forcibly dragging passengers from planes will not end well. An emphasis on goals (i.e. a safe flight, passenger safety, etc.) over rules can reduce negative situations of this nature. Trusting employees to take the right course of action to achieve company goals will yield better results than unbending rules.
- Avoiding conflict. Not many people relish dealing with office skirmishes, but it is vital to building trust. Employees will sometimes disagree on the best course for a project, and it is up to company leadership to make a decision. Failing to do so can delay projects, frustrate employees, and result in the loss of talented staff to competing companies. Employees need to be able to trust their leadership to make the tough decisions. Being indecisive is a surefire way to undermine that trust.
Business owners and executives cannot hope to grow their company if they do not take the time for introspection. Professional development and personal growth are vital to improving a company and the trust its employees place in its leadership. If your business is struggling to innovate, and you suspect trust is the issue, Trion can help. Contact us today to learn more about promoting a culture of trust and innovation at your company.