Building a trustworthy work environment

Pope Francis’ visit to the United States is gaining extensive and widespread coverage, rightfully so. Also running at the same time across the media is the scandal of deception at Volkswagen that may permanently damage an iconic brand,  the sentencing of a food-company executive for knowingly selling tainted food that killed innocent people and trading probes for rate manipulation and insider trading.  There have also been several prominent scandals in State and Federal government. 

It is no wonder that trust in large institutions is at a low level and that employee’s across the world continue to be disengaged or actively disengaged in disproportionately high numbers.

There is clearly a connection between ethics, integrity, trust and employee engagement, which does impact productivity and business results.  Cornell’s famed Hotel School did a conclusive study proving this a few years ago.

As importantly, given how important work and the workplace is to a person’s mental, emotional, and physical well-being, a trustworthy work environment does have a significant impact on people’s personal lives.

John Lyly’s 1579 poem ‘Euphues’ has been cited as the source of the oft-used quote, “All’s fair in love and war.”  While at times leadership may feel like war and perhaps driven by love for something, there must be a different standard for leading others. In fact there is an ante (from poker) for getting in the game of leadership, and that is trust.

Consistently walking the talk and always doing the right thing, the right way for the right reason are key building blocks for trust-building.  Pope Francis appears to be role modeling this for the world’s leaders ever since he began serving in this critical role over two and a half years ago and his timing to visit the United States could not be more perfect, perhaps divine.

I will be looking in the mirror to ensure that my leadership continues to create an environment of trust and that I am walking the talk of the concept of Servant Leadership that was introduced to me by a former business partner, now friend, Kenney Moore of the Highway 55, who embodies trust and integrity.

If you have taken the time to read this stream of consciousness, I hope you will do the same.