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How To Whip Your Startup Team Into Shape: Building Trust & Improving Performance

How To Whip Your Startup Team Into Shape: Building Trust & Improving Performance

Is trust really important in an organization? One of the studies says that only 51% of the organisation trusts their senior management and 28% trust their CEO’s (Stephen M.R Covey). On the contrary, some reports claim that trust is one of the leading factors in building a successful organisation, but some studies state that a direct correlation between trust and performance improvement hasn’t been established.

In Indian organisations, we still rely on skill-sets than the ability of one to inculcate the feel of positivity. A few organizations might be an exception, but still most companies will rather hire a computer engineer who knows to code irrespective of the fact, that the person may not be able to communicate effectively. Recent market has seen a hype in hiring of HiPos (A Hi Potential employee). HiPo’s are supposedly 91% more valuable than non-HiPos. However, a study by CEB has illustrated that they are failing to deliver as expected. While exploring the reasons, it is found that the line managers failed to generate positivity and trust among their staff.

So, let us evaluate some of the reasons on how trust can inspire a successful organisation:

  1. Trust prompts an increase in speed and decrease in cost.
  2. A harmonious relationship between the teams leading to effective performance and lower employee turnover.
  3. A healthy staff-customer relationship. Remember happy employees make happy customers, in return increased business.
  4. A productive relationship between the vendors and third parties leads to reduced transaction costs.
  5. Organization sustenance at difficult times.
  6. Reduces disengagement among team members by inspiring them to wilfully work to their maximum and best potential. Studies have shown that disengagement can cost up to $300 billion a year if organizations don’t look into this particular issue.
  7. Last but not the least, nourishment of the overall organization structure reducing structural and decision overlaps and effective delegation.

Taking a step-back, when an employee comes to work with an employer, there exists a contractual trust which requires both parties to adhere to certain codes of conducts. But because we have a high power distance relationship in India, trust is seldom built between the people at different levels. Open channels of communication is inherently closed as team members find it difficult to ask questions and bosses being bosses, fail to assume the basic role required for a leadership function – a role of a mentor and a coach.

Moreover, because of the absence of an open channel of communication, the vision and mission of the organization remains stuck in a closet, only to be brought out occasionally. Thus, a shared purpose is never developed. This is the situation with many existing Indian companies. On the other side, the start-up culture in India heavily relies on charm and open communication. The commutation is open to the extent that many start-ups fall prey to the inability in decision making.

Performance is a product of ability and willingness. Whereas high ability and high willingness leads to higher productivity, low ability and low willingness causes disdain. Willingness comes from right attitude and right attitude is generated when trust is built. We are in a system that desperately needs a makeover in terms of role undertaking and some ways that might help are:

  1. Creating an open channel of communication where managers do not assume the air of superiority but mingle with everyone and let everybody know how precious they are. Instead of demanding explanation, collaborative communication does the wonder. One of the living example is Toyotas shift from “Why, Why, Why” culture to a much more tolerant culture where the explanations are not demanded but root causes are analysed with a collaborative approach.
  2. While allocating tasks, reliance on abilities than perception will create a positive environment. The easiest way to reach out to everybody is by communicating to them, asking them the areas they are comfortable in. In modern days, plenty of tools are available that measure the Team Roles of people. Tools like Belbin Questionnaire are easy to adapt and administer. The HR needs to work in liaison with L&D team and L&D needs to focus more on people development by understanding their forte and areas of interest instead of generating generalized need and addressing them.
  3. ​Leaders need to walk the talk where they accept mistakes and rectify them without much ado. Managers who accept mistakes and work towards rectifying the same create an environment of trust and tolerance.

With almost 65% of the population below the age of 35, India, must tap into its potential to the fullest. Organizations need to adapt to cultural and demographic diversity and build an ambience of positive attitude that will enhance the willingness at work in turn build trust and enhance productivity.

Note: The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views held by Inc42, its creators or employees. Inc42 is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by guest bloggers.