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Have you got your people’s backs?

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in Compensation and Benefits,Human Resources

Trust means confident reliance on someone when you’re vulnerable.

That’s the definition Fordham University business professor Robert Hurley offers. Think of the phrase “brothers in arms.”

Sadly, about half of all managers say they don’t trust their leaders, and nearly 70 percent of Americans agree with the statement: “I just don’t know whom to trust anymore.”

Luckily, you can create and even rebuild trust. These 10 factors help people decide whether to trust you:
  1. Risk tolerance. People who tolerate more risk are more likely to trust you, whatever else is going on. Hire risk-takers when you can.

  2. Level of adjustment. Well-adjusted people are comfortable with themselves and are generally optimistic. Their impulse is to trust. Surround yourself with them.

  3. Relative power. When your people have some authority and recourse, they’ll feel more powerful. Delegate authority, so they’ll have control over their environment and feel more trusting.

  4. Security. A person who trusts his supervisor in good times might become suspicious of the same supervisor during the bad times. The higher the stakes, the less likely people are to trust. Your best defense is consistency. Never promise what you can’t deliver.

  5. Commonalities. We’re still tribal people at heart, so cultural similarities help induce trust. To bridge cultures, rely on universal values such as work ethic and honesty. Workaholics should hire workaholics.

  6. Alignment of interests. Unsophisticated leaders assume that every one of their people’s interests are aligned with their own. Not so. People know it when executives benefit out of all proportion to their contribution or risk. That’s why certain firms cap senior-level compensation at a multiple of average employee pay.

  7. Caring. Trust becomes an issue not because people think you’re evil but because they think you’re self-centered. They don’t believe you’ll fight for them. Would you put yourself at risk for them?

  8. Capability. People will trust you if they believe you know what you’re talking about and can do the job.

  9. Predictability. Erratic or inconsistent behavior breeds distrust.

  10. Communication. Your openness and honesty will inspire the same in others.
—Adapted from “The Decision to Trust,” Robert Hurley, Harvard Business Review.

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