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Source | The People Development Work : BY KARIN DAMES

lture is one of the most important factors for attracting talent to your workforce. It is, however, not tangible or easily measured, making it hard to define and implement. To make it even more complex, each person has slightly different expectations and needs when it comes to culture. Extroverts and introverts, for example, want different things from a company to feel happy. So does people in different life stages, with a new graduate wanting different things from his workplace than a newlywed couple or someone who has just had a baby.

So how do you keep everyone happy?

Look for the commonalities, not the differences.2

Each company and each person are slightly different, however, there are a few things that everyone wants and needs. One of these things is the shared value of trust, with values being the building blocks of culture.

Company culture is shared values in action.2

The essential value for any company to succeed in today’s business world is trust. Trust breeds responsibility, it nurtures more effective communication, it develops autonomy. Ingredients for success.  For a workplace where people collaborate and support, rather than work against each other, there needs to be trust.

People do as you do, not as you say

It is the role of the leader to demonstrate what trust looks like. There is, however, a fine balance between trusting someone to do something, and leaving them to fend for themselves. The one is empowering, the other is demotivating and disempowering. The one breeds effective communication, the other breaks down communication.

So how do you breed a culture of trust?

1. Do what you say, say what you do

A continued display of integrity is the most powerful tool to build trust. When you say you will get back to someone and doesn’t, it reflects not only that you don’t value your people, but also that they can’t trust you.

Always deliver on your promises and don’t promise or commit to anything if you are not able to. When something unforeseen happens that stops you from delivering on your promise, which does happen from time to time, communicate pro-actively. Tell the person you can’t get back to them and why, and make an alternative arrangement. And stick to it this time. Don’t wait for them to follow up with you, and don’t make it a habit of postponing.

Be pro-active, or delegate, but always keep your promises.

2. Trust is earned

It is tempting to believe that people will trust you as a result of your role in the company. And though some people might make you believe that this is true, in actual fact, it’s not.

You can’t tell someone to trust you.  Trust is a continued display  of integrity.

It is a continued process of proving that you are reliable and trustworthy.  It’s not something you achieve by an external event, it is a daily practice.

Realize that you will not win the trust of your employees within a few days or weeks, especially if the trust has been broken in the past. Make it a habit to be reliable and consistent in your behavior and keep at it, even though it feels as if you’re not making any progress.

3. Don’t trust blindly

When you have a small child that has never seen fire before, you don’t simply trust that they will not burn themselves and allow them to go and play next to the fire, you stand close by their side making sure that they don’t get too close. You don’t keep them away from the fire, but you also don’t allow them to blindly walk into the danger and hurt themselves.

At work, the same applies.  Don’t trust people blindly because they are adults, especially at the start of your journey to build trust. Trust with an open, caring eye.  Allocate tasks and set goals, but schedule catch-up sessions to make sure that the person is on track, without micro-managing each step.

Communication is key. Reward successes and have an open door policy to ensure that you are accessible and the employee has the confidence to tell you about failures and ask for guidance.

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