Secure in the value of trust
We attach many meanings to the word security, be that the locks on the doors and windows of our home, the forces of law and order keeping us safe, the pensions we may invest in, or the things we come to rely on.
Yet from one day to the next the things we’ve relied on as secure look increasingly less.so. The crumbling, or at least weakened, staples of the UK high street are just one example that this type of security is ephemeral.
In the workplace too, the notion of security has shifted on its axis. The time of a job for life with one organisation has largely passed. The bigger spectre now is the pervasive uncertainty of a volatile world. The advance of technology meanwhile is making it better – stretching what we can achieve – and worse – what work will be available in a few years.
As leaders, in and amongst all the other challenges, we need to be thinking about security. Not of the guaranteed jobs or ‘future definitely looks like this’ variety. There are too many variables and change is too rapid and unpredictable for such promises
Instead this is about creating the security or psychological safety that endures, that will enable people to thrive despite the destabilising effects of uncertainty. At the heart of this sense of security is trust, and building it is almost certainly in our gift if we choose to prioritise it. We can do that in our leadership by…
- Being more open and transparent, sharing not just what we are deciding and doing but why
- Focusing first on the person rather than the task so that we can be clear what motivates and matters to them. Putting relationship first pays dividends
- Encouraging honest expression of others’ views – the positive and the critical. It may be self-evident but the more consciously we listen the more of value we’ll hear. And we can foster a culture of healthy challenge by inviting it on our own thinking
- Defining success with others so that we create shared goals and joint ownership
- Being prepared to fail and learn in public so that others feel safe to do the same
- Making promises we can keep and keeping them
Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list, simply something to prompt reflection and perhaps development of your own building blocks for greater trust and, as a result, growing the sense of security of your people.