“Compared with people at low-trust companies, people at high-trust companies report 74% less stress, 106% more energy at work, 50% higher productivity, 13% fewer sick days, 76% more engagement, 29% more satisfaction with their lives, and 40% less burnout.” – Paul J. Zak, Harvard

Inspiring Leadership means creating an environment where people are aligned to a positive vision of the future and willing to do what it takes to get there. Without trust, people will not follow you where you’re trying to lead. Without relationships and community, you’ll miss out on the collective power of the group to do things more efficiently as a team.

New neuroscience research shows that when there is a lack of trust in an organization, our brains actually shut down the production of oxytocin – the brain chemistry that increases and enhances our empathy response.  Paul J. Zak, quoted above, created eight strategies for building cultures of trust in organizations. For the full article click here: https://hbr.org/2017/01/the-neuroscience-of-trust:

Recognize excellence.

The neuroscience shows that recognition has the largest effect on trust when it occurs immediately after a goal has been met, when it comes from peers, and when it’s tangible, unexpected, personal, and public. Public recognition not only uses the power of the crowd to celebrate successes but also inspires others to aim for excellence. And it gives top performers a forum for sharing best practices, so others can learn from them. – Paul J. Zak

Induce “challenge stress.”

Assign your team difficult BUT ACHIEVABLE tasks. Moderate levels of stress help people to focus and work together…but if the tasks are too difficult to achieve motivation can suffer.

Give people discretion in how they do their work. 

Autonomy helps. This doesn’t mean not training people, it means help people to take personal responsibility for getting results in a way that works for them.  This is a huge signal of trust in their ability to figure things out. A Citigroup survey showed that almost half of employees would give up a 20% raise for more control over their work.

Enable job crafting. 

When people are allowed to structure their own work or take on projects they feel they can contribute to or are excited about, that’s another way to build trust and engagement. It may also increase the desire to contribute their best work, increase loyalty and garner innovative solutions.

Share information broadly. 

As a leader you may believe you’ve told your people about the bigger picture strategy they are working toward – without repetition, the message may not get through. 40% of employees report they are well informed about company goals, strategies and tactics.  When people don’t feel part of the big picture their work can suffer and they can feel disenfranchised and distrusted.

Intentionally build relationships. 

Oxytocin, the empathy chemical, helps us to build better trusting relationships. That chemical is activated when we have concern and connection at work.  People need people!  When we focus too much on just getting things done, we can forget to reinforce the connections that can help us do so more efficiently.