Every organization should strive for mutual trust and respect between their employees in equal amounts, each to the other, up, down, and across the organization.
This is a favorite saying of mine because it is so important to the success of the organization and to the pleasant environment in which to work. But what does it entail and how do we make it happen?
Webster defines trust as a firm belief in the honesty, integrity, reliability, justice, etc. of another person or thing. Respect is defined as to feel honor or esteem for; to hold in high regard. Thus, the saying states that everyone in the organization can be trusted to be honest and reliable, and everyone can expect justice and to be esteemed by others.
If this ideal is reached, we can expect maximum teamwork, less stress, and optimized performance of both individuals and the organization. The employees are supportive of each other and collaborate to maximize results. Okay that is easy to understand, but how do we achieve it in the real world of the workforce? That is not so easy to understand.
There is something in the workplace that can be likened to an echo effect. Our behavior is reflected back to us. If we are supportive and helpful to others, they are more inclined to treat us in the same way. On the other hand, if we are selfish, play politics, and hard to get along with, we are likely to get that thrown back to us. The Golden Rule is a good guide to our behavior.
Someone needs to start the ball rolling and anyone in the organization can be the catalyst, but normally it needs to start at the top. Leaders need to model the way as people, consciously or sub-consciously, emulate the leaders in the organization. The onus for starting the culture change of mutual trust and respect must be on leadership. Management must clearly state the aim and objectives of the organization, provide proper training and directions, and then trust the employees to do the best job they can. Avoiding micro-management, excessively looking over the shoulders of others inspecting their work, is a must to demonstrate that they trust the employees.
However, individuals can make their work place more enjoyable by setting their own examples of trust and respect. They don’t have to wait for someone else to start. Behavior is infectious.
Examples of trust and respect behavior can spread and start to snowball. We all want to eliminate stress due to political infighting; to make our work more enjoyable and satisfying. This dynamic culture of trust and respect results in enthusiastic, positive attitudes, which we all desire.