What happens if there is an absence of trust in your workplace and what can you do to rectify the situation?
The impact of the absence of trust in the workplace can spread quickly throughout your organization, permeating all areas of function until ultimately it affects the business as a whole and the bottom line – your profits. If you are a new business or start-up, successful implementation of Agile practices can build a solid foundation of trust early on, ensuring that it is a defining part of your organization as you grow. In established businesses, implementing Agile can support your management as you work to create trust across all levels and harmonize your working relationships.
Impact on business culture
Your business culture is fundamental. It defines what sort of company you are, what you are like to work for and where you are headed in the future. A toxic culture that lacks trust and respect can make employees dread coming to work, fear for their job security, impact negatively on their engagement and mean that they do what is requested of them, but absolutely no more. The outward ripple continues with a decline in performance, customer satisfaction, brand loyalty and repeat business, which will then hit you hard where it hurts – your profit margin. One of the core principles behind Agile is the importance of creating a working environment that is motivating, which it does through the implementation of a variety of values which include honesty, respect and responsibility. Building a culture that revolves around these values drives employee engagement, makes them want to perform well at work and encourages them to become invested in the success of their organization.
Impact on innovation
Innovation is essential for any company. Businesses must innovate in order to keep up with the rapid pace of technological developments and ever evolving and increasing customer demands. However, innovation simply isn’t possible in a toxic culture where staff come in unmotivated and do the bare minimum possible in order to retain their employment. Innovation is also impossible in business environments where staff are unwilling to communicate with one another to generate, trial and fine-tune new products and new and improved ways of working. To be effective and efficient, teams need to be able to suggest, test and review in a short space of time. They also need to be reactive and able to respond quickly to changes within their team, their project, and to the requirements of their consumers and the wider needs of their organization. An Agile business culture, where team members feel supported in suggesting ideas, are unafraid of making mistakes or them being wrong, and can accept criticism and advice, is one way to create trust between your people and drive a willingness to be flexible, engaged and reactive. Combine this with the Agile practice of working in sprints - a time-boxed approach to development and improvement - and you have a powerful team that trusts in their organization and is capable of making a real difference to your success.
Lead by example
No matter how much effort you make to build trust within your teams, you will fail unless your directors, managers and team leaders choose to lead by example. Why should your employees be respectful, honest and supportive of one another if their management does not show them the same courtesy? An inability to trust leadership will make your teams feel that they lack job security, meaning that they will be more focused on preserving their space within your company and/or hunting for new employment. One of the ways in which Agile can help is the way in which it facilitates practices and protocols that make teams self-organizing, giving them the power to make their own decisions and take responsibility for their actions. By allowing their teams to do this, management can demonstrate trust and faith in their teams to do a good job, which makes staff feel valued and motivates them to do the very best that they can.
Turn that frown upside down
We can only touch on some of the plethora of methods that Agile uses to help form a firm foundation of honesty and trust within any business that it touches. When implemented properly, Agile can also help to completely turn around the negative effects caused by an absence of trust in your workplace, and instead help you grow an organization based on happy, engaged and innovative employees that are every bit as invested in the future of your company as you are. Want to know more? Give one of our expert team a call and let’s get the ball rolling! Contact us now!
About our guest writer
I am an Agile coach with a passion to help teams to collaborate, strategize, cooperate and to deliver solutions that are in direct support of strategic initiatives. An agile transition is all about people and interactions and that is my concentration. I apply gamification, and proven techniques to motivate teams. Through these techniques I support teams to drive specific behaviors that contribute towards more effective, productive and harmonious working relationships regardless of the methodology or framework used.
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