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Monday, April 18, 2011

Want to Work with Happy, Open, Trusting People? Start with Yourself!

" You can't cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water"
 Rabindranath T.A. Gore

Do you like the people you work with, or do you only dream about working with people you like?

If you had a choice, would you chose to work with perfect, always-in-control people, or with open, trusting, happy people who sometimes make mistakes?

What People Want 

If you're like most people, you'd choose to work with open, happy, trusting people. And this preference hasn't changed much over time.

Twenty years ago, The Rand Corporation conducted a 10-year study assessing what people wanted most out of life. At the top of the seven most wanted list was 'The opportunity to work with open, happy, trusting people'. And twenty years later, trust in the workplace still takes center stage.

Open, Happy, Trusting Workplaces Produce More Faster

An open, trusting workplace can enhance the bottom-line and reduce employee turnover.
'Trust is the one thing that changes everything', says Stephen MR Covey, author of 'The Speed of Trust'. High trust in an organization produces better, faster results--and at less cost. The higher the trust, the less time it takes to produce services and products; the lower the trust, the more time it takes to do business.

Yes, happy cows DO produce great dairy products, and happy, trusting employees DO produce better results at less cost. Just how much more productive are high trust organizations than those lead by fear and mistrust?
"High trust organizations are three times more profitable", says Covey.
Be the Change ~ Be Happy

Whether you're motivated to make the workplace a better place for you to work, or you're motivated to make the workplace more profitable, building an environment of high trust is key.

Leaders  If you're a key leader in your organization you can move the workplace to a more profitable place by improving trust among staff. This requires you to change your management practices, not just talk about trust. If you've lost trust, take time to re-establish your credibility with staff. Start by asking yourself questions, then follow through with changes in your own attitude and behavior.
How would your colleagues rate you? Would they say you are a fear-monger or a trust-builder?
If your staff had a choice, would they choose you as their leader?
Do you instill trust in the people around you?
If morale is at an all time low, what can you change in the way you lead to improve openness and trust? Are you willing to do what it takes to improve trust and therefore productivity and profits?
Staff  If you serve in a staff position you still have the power to create an open, happy, trusting environment. While you can't make other people more open, happy and trusting, you'll influence others by becoming these things yourself.

Ask yourself: Do you care enough about yourself to create the daily environment you want to work in? Is it worth it to you to have a place to work that you enjoy? Are you willing to be a shining light at work to instigate happy, open, trusting relationships?  It all starts within you, and radiates out through each of your interactions with others. What are you currently creating for yourself in the workplace?
If you asked your colleagues would they say you're an open, happy, trusting person?
When you walk into a room, do people smile at you or avert their eyes?
How many minutes a day do you spend laughing or smiling at work?
Do you admit to making mistakes or do you look for someone to blame?
When someone else makes a mistake do you berate them or help them learn and move on?
When colleagues leave on vacation do you wish them well or look busy and let them know your work duties don't allow you to take your vacation?
If your answers make you squirm, do something about it. Be the change you want to see in the workplace.

Four Tips for Creating a Happy, Open, Trusting Workplace

Admit Your Mistakes. People admit to their own mistakes faster if they work with people who can readily admit to their own. Make it a safe place to work.

Describe Behavior, Don't Judge it. Once a mistake has happened, it can't un-happen. To increase trust and encourage people to take appropriate risks at work, assess what happened factually, adjust actions, then move on. Take a problem-solving approach when mistakes happen and give up the finger-pointing.

Choose to Understand, not Misunderstand. The most important aspect of problem solving is listening. Before judging, listen and ask clarifying questions before you say anything. Before getting upset, make sure you understand the situation or what was said. Look for points of agreement so you can repair the relationship and build trust as you move through conflict.

Take Your Responsibilities Seriously, not Yourself. Being perfect wastes time and energy. By making work more fun, you can do a better job and make work more satisfying for others and yourself.

I work in an Open, Happy, Trusting Place

Interested in Building Trust in Your Workplace?

To contact me to discuss or schedule workshops or consulting services, click on 'View My Complete Profile' on the right, and click contact on the profile page.

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