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Are You Building Mistrust in Your Team, Or Trust?

Delegation and empowerment of staff is an essential task of the modern manager. The techniques are not difficult but are impossible if you don't lay the right foundations. And those foundations are built on creating trust with your staff and dispelling mistrust. The story is told of the manager who gave delegation a try. He reluctantly agreed to pass down some of his routines to his secretary, but every night after she'd gone home, went into her drawer to check what she'd done. Imagine what happened to that relationship when she found him out!

The 8 Features of Mistrust

Mistrust still haunts the corridors of many organisations and is the biggest block to employee acceptance of delegation and empowerment. In their book "Managing Cultural Differences", Philip Harris and Robert Moran describe 8 features of management mistrust. Are you guilty of any of these?

1. Look on feelings of doubts as signs of weakness.
2. Be sarcastic, but cleverly so.
3. Let them know it's OK to stretch the truth if it makes the organisation look good
4. Be secretive. It keeps them on their toes.
5. Discourage them from coming to you for help. After all, they should be self-starters.
6. When something goes wrong, explode and look for the guilty party.
7. Gossip about your staff behind their back.
8. Take credit for all successes.

The 8 Features of Trust

Having described their 8 features of mistrust, Philip Harris and Robert Moran go on to describe 8 features of managers who show trust.

1. Express your own doubts and fears openly.
2. Be supportive of subordinates who express doubts and fears.
3. Demand honesty as one standard not to be compromised.
4. Explain why you want things done.
5. Talk through your expectations of each other when assigning work.
6. Encourage others to use you as a possible resource while you develop their self-reliance.
7. When something goes wrong, find out what happened not who did it.
8. Share credit for success (or, better still, give them all the credit).

Building Trust: 6 Don'ts

Here are 6 don'ts that will help you build trust when you are involved in a delegation and empowerment programme.

Don't trick people into accepting tasks by suggesting the job is much easier than it really is.
Don't hint that you'll help them when you know you can't.
Don't make promises in return for them doing the task.
Don't suggest rewards might come if they won't.
Don't use developmental delegation just to get a nasty job done.
Don't flatter them into believing they can do a job which they need help with.