Taking a stand for trust

mohan-joshi

Mohan Joshi, Independent Management Consultant

You land in a new place and spend a couple of nights at a stranger’s house. You see some photos, do some reading and pay to buy what you may receive after several days. You trust a program to transfer money in and out of your account.

Trust runs the new economy; it is the gold of the new world. What about the olden times when there was less technology and more in-person contact?

Stand, discuss, deliver

Several years ago, while leading an organisation, I started the practice of 10’o-clock standing meetings. We would gather at a convenient spot on the shop floor and have an open chat about work issues. It was a wonderful opportunity to applaud good work. Equally importantly, we also discussed things that needed resolution. We did not point fingers. We accepted the problem and arrived at the best solution.

As meetings went, these were rather informal. Only the relevant people participated. And we usually wound up in 20 minutes.

Over a period of time, people made it a point to perform well because they wanted to be seen as solution providers and not as problem defenders. The instant recognition of achievements (small or big) boosted morale. And, most importantly, thanks to the connections we built, mutual trust went up and stayed up.

Just a few human beings, willing to open up and trust one another. Owning up problems collectively and working together towards a resolution for the common good. The leader was a catalyst in the process.

I did it, I shall correct it

A plaintive “I didn’t do it” is often the first clue for a mother that the junior has been up to some mischief behind her back. We grow up to become managers and learn to use more sophisticated words for the same pre-emptive declaration. Over a period of time, this defensive approach extracts a heavy price in terms of trust.

Whenever something goes wrong, we defend, we lay down a battery of excuses. Instead, we need to accept and amend. For the sake of trust.

Today, technology has provided us various tools not to have that 20-minute face-to-face interaction, inconveniently standing. But are we losing out on the human connection? Can a leader afford to leave it to technology? Can technology ever provide a substitute for the thrust trust can provide to a connected team’s growth?