How To Build Employee Engagement

Why do companies care about employee engagement? Two top reasons are:

  1. Measuring employee engagement is possible, and while it isn’t an exact science, it does become quantifiable, tangible and actionable.
  2. Sustained profit growth can almost always be linked back to engaged employees.

Furthermore, sustained profit growth (as it relates to employee engagement), may be the result of one or more of the following:

  • Higher customer satisfaction rates (customers become more loyal and make more referrals)
  • Greater employee productivity (output)
  • Fewer employee mistakes (less waste and less customer frustration / dissatisfaction)
  • Increased employee pride (greater creativity, strategy and attention to detail)
  • Greater employee loyal (meaning turnover, hiring & training costs go down)

So, with employee engagement being so important, how can leaders build employee engagement?

As a leader you and I have a responsibility to remember employees are individuals with feelings and ambitions who have chosen to work for us. They have families and stresses just like you and I do, and two of their greatest needs are to feel safe and respected. And, while our company may experience short-term gains when we add pressure to do more with less (less time, less support, less rest, less time to be creative, less time to take pride in their work), we will also get long-term losses when these people begin to quit and/or burn out.

My best advice as a corporate trainer and executive coach is to stop trying to make employees more engaged and start working on plans to make employees feel proud, safe, respected and more interested. While employee engagement is the outcome we want, the tactics we need to use to meet that outcome has to be about helping employees feel that they ‘want to produce’ not ‘have to produce’. If you are still reading after that last sentence, I’m betting you are comfortable with the reality that employee engagement is more soft-skill than hard-skill, or in other terms… more carrot than stick… more empathy than indifference… more discussion than policy.

Employee Engagement Begins With Trust & Teamwork

An ADP Research Institute 19-country study identified people are 2.3 times as likely to be fully engaged if they are on a team. And teams that trust their leader are as much as 12 times more likely to be fully engaged.

It seems to me that the question shouldn’t be. “How can we build global employee engagement?” Instead we should be asking “How can we create trustworthy leaders and a corporate culture that empowers employees and maximizes team support.”

Employee loyalty is about leaders helping employees do their best work. We do not need leaders who are experts in software design, aircraft maintenance, accounting or power generation. We do need leaders who are committed to strategy, integrity and being a beacon of the values of the organization. We need leaders who know that the road will get rough now and again and tensions may rise, but the best way forward… the best way to de-escalate the situation is to stay open, calm and respectful… and to help their team learn to do the same. We need leaders who know that mastering the ‘art of people’ is as real as being a master architect, chef or banker.

When a leader’s goal is to help employees be more creative, innovative and proactive, their corporate culture will begin to change accordingly, and we will see the employee engagement results we want. To explore how you and I can help the people who work for you do their best work in more detail I’m going to explore the following seven critical skills I believe great leaders have to master… and continuously demonstrate:

  1. Help Employees Understand The Organization
  2. Get to know your team
  3. Help Employees Contribute
  4. Give Employees Responsibility
  5. Set / Manage Expectations – Great leaders establish agreement around expectations
  6. Manage Performance: Provide Timely Praise & Feedback
  7. Build Trust

Help Employees Understand The Organization

Help people understand and bond with your organization’s goals and values. Don’t (only), remind them through dull presentations and lectures. Remind employees of the goals and value by connecting every decision you make and that they make. By connecting goals and values to actions you give employees the chance to learn through direct experience that they are responsible for being a representative of the organizational and that they are an important part of a corporate culture they can feel proud.

Get to Know Your Team And Help Them Get To Know You

Caring for your team, understanding their needs, embracing differences and helping your colleagues experience their potential cannot be over-stated… and you can only do this if you know your team.

We are not all motivated the same way and our motivations can change / evolve. Knowing each of your employees on your team means you have invested the time to understand their talents, experience, ambitions and even family (if they want to share).

Familiarity instinctively builds trust, respect and cooperation. The best way to determine what people need is to keep lines of communication open and to check-in regularly.

NOTE: I like to use the C.A.R.P.C.S. model as an outline of what may motivate each person and how to frame a discussion… whether you are a leader or not. I’ll create a link when I write about C.A.R.P.C.S. If you don’t see a link please send me a note if you would like to discuss at brucemayhewconsulting.com.

Help Employees Contribute

Help employees show you what they are capable of doing. Keep them up to speed on the major goals and initiatives the department and/or company are involved in. Give them the opportunity to feel what it’s like to contribute to the corporate strategy and have their voices heard.

This step also means you have to prove to yourself that you can trust them with autonomy to make good decisions (even if they are not EXACTLY the decisions you would make). But, you know what? When employees know what the goals and organizational values are, they make good decisions. Let me repeat that… when employees know what the goals and organizational values are, they make good decisions.  This will almost always increase their job satisfaction, productivity, creativity and loyalty.

Give Employees Responsibility Before People Are Ready

Most employees want to learn new skills and/or to prove themselves and professional development is one of the greatest benefits Millennial and Gen Z employees crave.

There is almost no better reward for an employee than the pride they feel when they learn new skills, experience new situations, finish a new project and/or work with a new audience. When people feel pride (an intrinsic motivation), their work becomes more purposeful. Giving reliable employees increased responsibility often results in an increase in a person’s productivity, creativity, work satisfaction and in most cases lower employee turnover.

As a leader, look for opportunities to demonstrate trust by giving people responsibility before they’re 100% ready – and let them know you are there for support. Your most important job here will likely be to keep them focused on the project goals and organizational values. They also need to know (they need to trust), that asking for support shows maturity not weakness.

Set / Manage Expectations

When leaders treat employees like children, they often get demotivated employees. Alternatively, when leaders treat employees like adults, they mostly get responsible employees.

If you want your employees to be empowered you have to first let them know what you expect of them. Equally important, you also must share what they can expect from you; employee engagement is a two-way street. When you are clear about expectations you lay the foundation to build trust and a community. For example, imagine how excited your team will feel when you tell them your goal is to:

  • Help them contribute and reach their short and long-term goals
  • Give them the autonomy and to contribute in a meaningful way (how, when and what they work on)
  • Keep them informed
  • Help them be proud of their work

And equally important, that you expect them to:

  • Be professional, proactive, creative, strategic and demonstrate organizational values
  • Reach their goals – as they’ve agreed to with you, on time and on budget
  • Provide you with accurate and timely updates
  • Come to you early with challenges and not to surprise you

Great leaders realize change is everywhere and every project will have unique challenges. Great leaders coach their team to expect change, not fear it and to expect to work differently tomorrow than they did today.

Manage Performance: Provide Timely Praise & Constructive Feedback

Give your employees the praise they earn. Not praising someone because “they’re doing their job” is an old-fashioned approach that needs to change. Everybody deserves to have their contribution recognized and to feel pride in their work and their team. Also, everyone should be encouraged to offer praise – even to a fellow team member.

Constructive feedback should never be seen as punitive or a surprise; it is as important as praise. If an employee is actively trying to avoid work or is not able to fulfill the task at hand they should expect to be held accountable. But this doesn’t mean their leader should be discourteous or unsympathetic.

Great leaders share that challenges and feedback can teach us more than successes; that they are professional development opportunities. Explore solutions they may be able to apply now… or in the future to other situations. Recognize that feedback often causes stress and anxiety so be clear that your goal around feedback is to help them… and the team be the best they can be.

Effort-based Praise

Effort-based praise reinforces self-awareness and feelings of pride in how hard a person has worked; in other words, their dedication, persistence and how hard they applied themselves. Effort-based praise may sound something like, “Thank you Bruce, you did lots of research and one-on-one interviews to understand the unique training goals of this prospect.”

Specific-based Praise

Specific-based praise builds greater commitment and sustainable results by reinforcing the exact behaviour or actions you want repeated. Specific-based praise may sound something like, “You shared important suggestions about how to approach the training the client wants and to stay within budget.”

With both Effort-based Praise and Specific-based Praise, even if Bruce didn’t land a new client, he can be proud of how hard he worked and what he learned through the process. How can you get into the habit of giving Effort-based praise and Specific-based praise? First, identify the behaviours you want to encourage. Your corporate values and mission statement are good places to start. Then, when you see those behaviours be sure you point them out. Side suggestion: Are your corporate values and mission listed in your offices and/or meeting rooms as reminders?

Build Trust To Improve Engagement

When you trust employees, they will likely to trust you.

Everything we have discussed here flows back to the issue of trust. When leaders trust employees, employees almost always become more engaged – even some of your lowest performers. When employees trust leaders they will take more ownership and want to exceed expectations. When leaders and employees trust each other they both know there may be moments where they may need to have difficult conversations, but everyone knows the ultimate goal is to bring out what is best for the employee and the team and the company.

Google conducted a two-year that showed the highest-performing teams believe they won’t be punished when they make a mistake (called psychological safety). This belief is rooted in trust in their leaders and that their corporate culture believes everyone is expected to learn from setbacks – not fear them.

When people trust each other, they know they can count on each other. When people don’t trust each other, they will not share information and will guard themselves and their work. Also, in organizations where employees don’t trust their leaders and the corporate culture, there is also increased resistance to change which can have significant implications to an organizations long-term competitiveness and success.

Conclusion

Being a great leader requires a keen understanding of people, their strengths and what gets them excited to work. You also need to know your own strengths… and weaknesses.

It takes a special kind of leader with unique competencies and skills to successfully master the ‘art of people’. Employee engagement isn’t a ‘thing’ you do in Q1 and Q3. It’s a full-time culture your leadership style builds and sustains. And, once you do create a great corporate culture you will have to maintain it. Building a corporate culture is like going on a diet. If you lose 20 pounds you have to maintain it with new, better habits. If you go back to your old ways all your successes will be washed away. Anne M. Mulcahy’s quote Employees are a company’s greatest asset – they’re your competitive advantage” was true when she wrote it and it is still true now.

One last point.

Who Should You Try To Engage?

For this I think it’s important to decide who are we really trying to engage because different people will take more or less effort… and some may not ever be possible. Consider, every organization has people who have:

  • Low engagement and Low productivity
  • Moderate engagement and Moderate, dependable, meets expectations productivity
  • Moderate engagement and High productivity (not really common)
  • High engagement and Low productivity (likely new employees)
  • High engagement and High productivity (for a few reasons – usually more personally motivated)

It’s difficult to find engagement studies that reference the same results however, most seem to be in general agreement that:

  • Approximately 15% of employees are low producers because they are new and learning or existing and disengaged
  • Approximately 15% of employees are high or top producers
  • Approximately 60% of employees are dependable, meets expectations people.

So reflecting on this information, your opportunity to have the greatest impact may be to focus on your dependable, meets expectations employees.

We hope you enjoyed this post. Thank you for sticking with me – I know it was a long one.

Bruce

Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Generational Differences, Leadership Skills, Motivation Skills, Difficult Conversation Training, Business Email Etiquette, Time Management, Mindfulness and more.

Find answers to your Professional Development questions / needs at brucemayhewconsulting.com.

Call us at 416.617.0462.

 

What Is A Real Leader?

Real Leaders recognize leadership is a relationship between you and your employees. You have to value their well being, their effort, their successes like you would your family.
 
Leadership is being a coach and mentor just like you would coach your grandchildren – sharing respect and security; feeding their desire to grow… knowing there is always a learning curve.
 
Leadership is knowing that even though you may be an expert, we live in a culture of change and there is always something new to learn…. or you risk falling behind.
 
Real leadership is communicating with people as they are… not as if they were you – with your goals, your knowledge, your stresses. Leaders recognize people are individuals and do not wish to be mini-clones of you.
 
Leadership recognizes everyone has emotions – they do not freeze when they (or you) walk through the door. Leaders also recognizes the relationships you need to nourish and respect are based on emotions. Trust is an emotion; so is Motivation and so is Respect… and the list continues.
 
Leaders build relationships that last… and the foundation of a leaders legacy… the foundation of a leaders personal and professional brand is their ability to build trusting, respectful relationships while motivating the people around them to achieve their greatest potential.
 
Real leaders are not perfect… but they try and are transparent of their shortfalls as well as their efforts and their successes. Leaders know their vulnerability only builds greater loyalty from others.
 
Real leaders want to make a positive lasting impact in the lives of their employees as well as their suppliers, customers and shareholders.
 
Real leaders never want to make a positive lasting impact at the expense of their employees, suppliers, customers and shareholders.
 
Bruce….

What we do every day of our lives is what matters.

We hope you enjoyed this post.

Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Generational Differences, Leadership Skills, Motivation Skills, Difficult Conversation Training, Business Email Etiquette, Time Management, Mindfulness and more.

Find answers to your Professional Development questions / needs at brucemayhewconsulting.com.

Call us at 416.617.0462.

 

View Bruce Mayhew's profile on LinkedIn

Bruce Mayhew Consulting

I’d enjoy reading your comments on this post.

 

 

How to lose someone’s trust.

Before we get into how to lose trust, please note, trust is also regained by addressing these same points, although getting it back is much more difficult. 

Trust is lost by one or more of the following four triggers:

  • Somebody’s behavior… which may either explicitly or overtly demonstrate values / beliefs / needs. For example:
    • I did not hold up my end of our deal.
    • I do not appear to have the skill / competence needed to do what we agreed to.
    • My intentions appear to be different… or worse… opposite to your intentions.
    • Something I did hurt you morally or physically (was against your values / beliefs / needs).
  • I may lose your trust if the company I work for or the board I sit on behaves in a one or more of the ways mentioned above.
  • You may lose trust in me if I appear to trigger your insecurities / past experience:
    • I did something or represent something that negatively triggers you.
  • I may lose your trust if I appear to be in opposition to your values / beliefs / needs:
    • I did something or represent something that negatively impacts you.
  • You may lose trust in me if I use my power to make my point or force a decision… especially if it is contrary to our values, goals, beliefs or the common good.

Trust is one of the strongest bonds between people and/or between people and formal organizations / companies.Losing Trust

Loss of trust is why many political parties get voted out… even if their opponent may be morally bankrupt. An opponent may win not because they are popular… but because they are a different choice other than the political party that lost voters trust.

With trust comes support, allowances, compromise… and even forgiveness for mistakes. When we trust each other’s competence and intentions it generally increases creativity and speeds up the decision-making process. Doors open, opportunities happen, recommendations are made. When we trust each other stress also often goes down loyalty goes up.

When we’ve been hurt… when we have lost trust, it is a natural reaction to put up barriers… to walk away… to protect ourself and perhaps our company. Putting up barriers is a fair reaction. Unfortunately it isn’t a very productive one because nothing gets resolved. But what we should not do is walk away without confronting the challenge… to have those difficult conversations.

If we don’t confront the challenge we may be throwing out an important relationship (personal or professional), based on behaviour that was unintentional… or based on our expectation that may not have been clearly shared. I believe having difficult conversations is an investment into myself and the relationship.  Also, if we don’t confront the challenge we won’t learn anything – like did we play a part in the experience and how we can avoid this from happening again.

Conclusion

There are many ways we can lose trust… and many ways we can rebuild trust. And rebuilding trust is both difficult and a slow process.

If we don’t confront the challenge we may create a defensive wall so high that it permanently hurts our ability to trust others in the future. This is not good. But, if we do confront the challenge we will definitely learn somethings. Perhaps, we will still agree to part ways… but at least this will be an informed decision. Hopefully, it will often allow you to begin a repair – rebuilding trust.

In my experience, when trust is rebuilt it has resulted in an even better – even stronger relationship where we both understand each other better AND trust each other more. And know… part of that new trust is to be able to call each other out in a professional manner knowing it is not going to become personal or feel like we are being attacked.

Bruce

We hope you enjoyed this post.

Click here to join our priority list to receive our latest Business Communication blog posts.

If you enjoyed this post we think you’ll like:

Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Generational Differences, Business Writing, Email Etiquette, Time Management and Mindfulness.

Bruce Mayhew on Canada AM

Click on the image to watch us on Canada AM.

Find answers to your Professional Development questions / needs at brucemayhewconsulting.com.

Call us at 416.617.0462.

View Bruce Mayhew's profile on LinkedIn

Bruce Mayhew Consulting

I’d enjoy reading your comments on this post.

 

 

 

 

 

 

You Are A Leader And It Is Time You Move On

As a leader you have spent years proving what you believe in.

You have spent a lot of time seeing the future, and you have realised your vision by supporting your team; by stretching them, encouraging, empowering them and by motivating them… not by forcing them. Your vision has given others clarity, it’s been a trusted guiding light for your team. You’ve helped your team be amazing – perhaps even surprise themselves. As a leader you’ve helped them demonstrate what they are made of… to expand their skills, experience and confidence.

Your optimism has made a difference. You bring people with different ideas, needs, beliefs together. You support the people around you to show they are of people of compassion, empathy, talent, collaboration… that they make each other better… that whatever they work it is better when they work together… taking advantage of each others unique talents and perspective.  As a leader you give the people you support the courage to make decisions and to learn from their mistakes. You give them the courage to do the things that are right for themselves and the organization. You help them understand the company values and encourage them to use those values with every decision they make and every action they take… and most of all… you lead by example.

Your focus has benefited everyone around you.

You’ve made change – mostly for the better. You’ve also made a few mistakes… but instead of hiding from mistakes you chose to learn from them. You show people it’s important to show everyone compassion – including yourself. And from your big role as a great leader you have built a reputation as a passionate visionary, a supporter of values, trust, virtue and most importantly… a supporter of people. You do what is right, not what is easy. You ignite passion. You make a difference!

Now It Is Time You Move On.

Screen Shot 2018-02-02 at 1.13.06 PMYou feel the time has come for your next adventure – it is time you move on. But, you are holding yourself back. Leaving a role where you have made a big difference can feel like letting people down. You don’t want to disappoint the people around you. And you still see so much untapped potential in many of the people you support… if you could just help them a little longer. As a leader you also see there are goals you have not accomplished. 

You have to stop thinking you have to do one more thing before…

It is time you move on. And when you allow yourself some space don’t jump too quickly to fill it. Take some time to clear your head. When you make the decision to move on – let yourself linger with that idea for a while – don’t start job-hunting immediately. Give yourself some time to gain clarity about what you want to accomplish next. When you give yourself some ‘space’ you may be surprised what you begin seeing, feeling, thinking about next opportunities. For example:

  • You might realize there is something you’ve wanted to do for years.
  • You might discover there something you passionately want to learn… like cooking.
  • You may decide to finally fulfill your dream to get more formal education.
  • There may be someone you’ve always wanted to meet (and perhaps work with), but they don’t even know you exist. Now is the time to call them and ask them to lunch; I bet they go.

It is time for you to get creative about what you want for youwhat will fulfill you? What will make you and your family happy? What do you need when it comes to work/life balance?

Whatever your next step is, it’s going to be a new challenge that will push you outside of your comfort zone (I hope). You will have to push yourself similarly to how you have pushed / supported others. You will grow… like you have helped others grow. As an executive coach I encourage you to give yourself up to the unknown and the pending learning curve. I also encourage you to find a new mentor (perhaps), to help you experience the changes you will be encountering.

One last idea. Because you have been such an amazing leader, your team and your customers may not want to let you go. Help them. This is another new learning curve for them – a way for them to grow… to change… to use the maturity you taught them to feel vulnerable but still embrace new opportunities with courage and an open mind. This will be difficult, but you have to give them the confidence and the momentum to move away from you. Remind them to continue to be kind to each other, to support each other and to trust each other. Help them support their new leader. Tell them how proud you are of them. Remind them how much they have grown. Then, tell them to ‘get on with it‘ (as my dad would say).

Let change be liberating for you. Find a space to be creative. It is time.

Conclusion

There will always be goals to realize and people to help. But now is the time to let go – don’t worry about what you didn’t accomplish – let someone else realize those plans (if they were truly meant to be). Perhaps the employees you’ve help need you to leave so they can continue to grow. Maybe they need to take on more responsibility. And, maybe instead of their leader you can still support them by becoming their mentor.

Leaving a role you love is not disappointment, it’s an adventure… an opportunity for you and for the people you work to continue to grow. So, go! Get outside your comfort zone.

We hope you enjoyed this post. Happy communicating everyone.

Click here to join our priority list to receive our latest Business Communication blog posts.

Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Generational Differences, Business Writing, Email Etiquette, Time Management and Mindfulness.

Bruce Mayhew on Canada AM

Click on the image to watch us on Canada AM.

Find answers to your Professional Development questions / needs at brucemayhewconsulting.com.

Call us at 416.617.0462.

View Bruce Mayhew's profile on LinkedIn

Bruce Mayhew Consulting

I’d enjoy reading your comments on this post.

 

Teach Millennials How To Be Great Leaders

When we think of great leaders we think of people who have leadership qualities like goal setting, inspiration, dedication, honesty, trustworthiness and so many other positive qualities. Millennials on the other hand are often described as lazy, entitled, selfish and many more negativedescriptions. However, when the right Millennial is hired for the right job these descriptions are not valid… especially when they are mentored by a great leader.

If you are a great leader it’s likely you learned it along the way from a combination of opportunities like:Leaders Values Millennials

  • Trial & error.
  • You had great mentors.
  • You studied / read leadership books.
  • You paid attention to good and bad examples of leadership.

Very few people are natural-born leaders. Lets not cast aside Millennials as hopeless. Instead, lets intentionally teach / mentor Millennials how to be great leaders.

When you have the right person in the right job, Millennials (like most people) are self-motivated and full of potential. So it’s up to their parents, professors, HR professionals and managers to make sure they are demonstrating the best leadership qualities for today’s ever-changing business market.

The challenge for them is to not learn poor leadership styles some of us have had to un-learn from that one really bad boss we once had. You know, the boss who had the Top-down / Carrot-Stick leadership style poplar post WWII when jobs were linear, repetitive and boring. The reality is that today most jobs are far from linear, repetitive and boring.

What are some of the lessons we have to make sure we are both
using – and teach Millennials how to be leaders?

Here is a list of 6 important lessons that will help teach Millennials how to be leaders.

1) Help Them Recognize Their Values And Their Importance

Most Millennials have wonderful values like compassion, charity/philanthropy, creativity, collaboration and achievement… and are not usually strong on values like conformity and tradition. Learning to recognize their strengths and values… and the strengths and values of others (and the organization), is critical to them being a great leader. Help your Millennials by teaching them the importance of values when making decisions and communicating.

When the time comes for your organization to review your mission, vision and values, let all of your employees contribute to your mission, vision and value statements. Demonstrate that great leaders make sure everyone have a respectful opportunity to contribute.

2) Be Their Mentor – Not Just Their Boss

The best leaders are effective because they know what they are best at and they lead with those skills. To create effective millennial leaders we must help them first understand their own gifts and talents. Help them identify what these skills are so they can use them to make informed decisions. Help them also see their gaps not as failures – but as opportunities to rely on (and develop), other people.

3) Be Authentic And Transparent

Authenticity and fairness come naturally to most Millennials. They grew up being encouraged to explore their individuality and to accept others for who they are no matter of their differences. As their leader, demonstrate that being authentic and transparent is important in their professional life.

Show Millennials that what they say and what they do matters and will be respected – especially in difficult times or during difficult conversations.

4) Be Trustworthy

Autonomy ranks very high on a Millennials list. Sure they love working in teams and are some of the best / least territorial collaborators… and yet, like most of us, Millennials love some independence. Trusting individuals to control their schedule is important. They will also enjoy when their collaboration team enjoys some project autonomy.

By trusting  Millennials (and other generations), you deepen commitment by demonstrating your respect for them and their opinions / talents.

5) Be Confident… And Flexible

Being confident about goals and objectives is terrific – but being flexible is also advantageous. Great leaders know that other people’s ideas and experiences often bring an approach and creativity that wasn’t previously considered and may make the project even better. This also supports your plan to offer employees more autonomy.

6) Teach Millennials How To Listen

Millennials love to learn – so remind them they can’t learn while they’re talking… only when they’re listening. Great leaders understand how powerful listening is in building relationships and respect.

Teach your Millennials not just to listen, but to demonstrate they are listening and care about what they hear. Like any good news reporter, encourage them to ask powerful questions… and to listen to the response.

Conclusion:

Millennials have the ability to become great leaders. We just need to teach them to recognize and lead from their innate strengths, communicate effectively, listen well and be transparent in what they do. Start today and lets awaken the leaders of tomorrow!

Happy communicating, mentoring, motivating… and training.

Click here to join our priority list to receive our latest Business Communication blog posts.

If you enjoyed this post we think you’ll like:

 

Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Business Writing, Email Etiquette, Time Management and Mindfulness.

Bruce Mayhew on Canada AM

Click on the image to watch us on Canada AM.

Find answers to your Professional Development questions / needs at brucemayhewconsulting.com.

Call us at 416.617.0462.

View Bruce Mayhew's profile on LinkedIn

Bruce Mayhew Consulting

I’d enjoy reading your comments on this post.

The Difference Between Belief, Faith and Trust

I believe… the differences between Belief, Faith and Trust holds great insight about how you and I act in our professional business lives and in our personal lives. This also includes how we manage difficult conversations and how we interpret information, are motivated and how we mentor others.

Unfortunately many of us treat belief, faith and trust as the same thing even though there are significant differences; this puts everyone at a disadvantage when we communicate. So, lets take a quick look at the difference between belief, faith and trust.

What Is Belief?

Everyone’s beliefs can be different. Beliefs can be something a person feels/perceives is true – even if we have to ignore proof our belief is incorrect. For example, Global Warming. Another common example is who we believe the best candidate in a political race is. In both of these examples our beliefs are largely supported by personal and perhaps even selfish reasons. So, beliefs have 2 options. They can be:

  1. Absolute and proven (we know water is made of 2 Hydrogen and 1 Oxygen molecule).
  2. A matter of personal and/or professional opinion (Union employment talks).

In addition, the more firmly convinced we become of our belief, the more confidant we may grow and the less we’ll listen to other options. Therefore, when we is closed we often don’t leave room for discussion or flexibility. The safety of the TITANIC is a good example of a belief that lead to overconfidence. Politics between countries offer us many such examples. Because beliefs are often a matter of personal experience, perspective and judgement as much as they may be of fact, they often change slowly – over time as we gather more information (knowledge) and experience.

Is Faith The Same As Trust?

Faith and trust are often confused and/or used interchangeably but they do have different meanings. What Is Faith?

  • Faith is often thought of as a spiritual concept. Faith is a devotion or loyalty where belief is important but proof may be less quantifiable. Religions are good examples of faith – or anywhere where a leap of optimism (faith), is required. Faith is something we ‘HAVE’…

What Is Trust?

  • Trust is often thought of in the context of relationships. Tangible proof is important. Being able to anticipate how another person will act is an example of trust (often because you have proof this is how they’ve acted in the past). Trust is something we ‘DO’…

    Belief supports Faith & Trust

    Belief supports Faith & Trust

Faith and Trust are supported by our beliefs… even if those beliefs are not logically supported… or even untrue. Trust / faith is broken only if a persons belief is broken… or trust / faith can be strengthened if belief deepens. Note: Trust is perhaps more fragile than faith. If trust is broken, it takes a long time to build it back.

Example 1 (Belief is supported): In business – if you and I are working on a project for the first time, do I have trust (not faith), you will be honourable and truthful? Yes, if I believe you are also focused on the organizations values and best interest – even though my only proof may be that you are employed. But one-on-one experience can change my beliefs quickly and therefore trust. The best approach for a successful project and working relationship would be to confirm objectives and values… therefore our beliefs and trust.

Example 2 (Belief is untrue): In a Ponzi scheme I believe you are truthful and you will give me a high ROI with low risk. My belief gives me trust that you will deliver results. But, in a Ponzi scheme this truth is a lie / the belief is unfounded and trust is eventually compromised.

Conclusion:

When we consider what people believe, have faith in and trust we can understand each other.

Whether we are speaking of belief, faith or trust, we will always be at our best if you and I support our conversations with an open mind and non-judegement… allowing ourselves to listen to each other and consider options based on mutually agreed objectives.

Our personal lives and our workspaces will always benefit.

Happy communicating and learning.

Please share and/or Tweet this post if you like it. It’ll only take a moment and will help us both share thoughtful business best practices. Some popular ‘It Feels Good To Share‘ links are at the end of this post.

Bruce Mayhew Consulting

If you enjoyed this Business Communication blog post we think you’ll like:

Bruce Mayhew is founder and President of Bruce Mayhew Consulting a Professional Development firm that excels at quickly and easily tailoring programs to meet the unique needs of our clients and their employees. In addition to being an effective professional development trainer, Bruce is a popular conference speaker, writer and has been featured on major TV, Radio and Newspaper networks ranging from CTV to Global to The Globe & Mail.

Connect with Bruce on Twitter, Google+ and Linkedin.

Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Email Etiquette, Managing Difficult Conversations, Mindfulness, Time Management and more.

Give us a call at 416 617 0462. We’ll listen.

Bruce Mayhew on Canada AM

Click on the image to the right to watch us on Canada AM.

Find answers to your Professional Development questions / needs at brucemayhewconsulting.com.

I’d enjoy reading your comments on this post.

Build Client Trust

People do business with people they trust.

If you want to generate repeat business; high quality referrals; larger, more profitable and easier sales, focus on developing a network of clients who trust you. To do that, you need to build relationships. Trust-based relationships are a far surer path to profitability than ‘the lowest price’ offer.

Trusted relationships also lead to reduced transaction costs and are more valuable for the seller and buyer alike. In many cases, clients will often wait a little longer, buy a little more (if you recommend), and even allow you to be a little more creative.

What are the keys to building client trust?

1. Be Professional And Know What You’re Talking About

Stick with your core competencies. Clients want to know that they can rely on your expertise. If the information you relay turns out to be wrong, you create doubt. It’s been said that it takes three positive experiences to create trust and only one bad one to jeopardize that trust.

So, what do you do when you don’t know the answer? You’ve likely read 100 articles stating ‘Don’t make it up or guess’. Well, they are right so I will say no more.

2. Identify Your Client’s Expectations

This is crucial. Clients expect you to fulfill their priorities.

Everyone talks about ‘exceeding client’s expectations,’ but most people seldom succeed. Why? Likely because most people don’t know what the client’s expectations are. They’ve never asked. At most they believe they know what their client expects and strive to meet those mythical expectations.

You have to ask every client. Only by knowing what your client expects can you exceed their expectations. This goes for sales and service. But be wary – clients may inadvertently lie. They won’t mean to – but often they will tell you what they think you, their bosses or their co-workers what to hear.

3. Provide the Best Solution

Clients want to trust that the solution you recommend is the best solution for them. So take your time. Listen intently and don’t oversell. If your needs analysis indicates your product or service isn’t the best solution for them, tell them quickly and professionally. Then, refer them to where they can get the best product or service.

When clients see your business values in action your reputation is sealed. Clients may not purchase from you today, but they will in the future. They’ll also be more inclined to refer you to their networks. Just make sure they know what your  unique value proposition and core competencies are for future reference.

4. Be Dependable.

How closely your actions parallel your promises will determine your ability to gain a clients’ trust and respect. Keeping your promises can be more important to them than price, competence and even personality.

Often credibility and trust is lost because of a lack of communication and follow-up.

As a professional, you must demonstrate professionalism. Your clients will notice if you; are not confident in what you are saying; don’t listen to or answer the questions they ask; commit to send something and you don’t send it; are consistently late for appointments; don’t return phone calls in a timely manner and a hundred other subtle signals.

The idea that building trust takes a long time is a myth. People begin making decisions very quickly about who they trust.

5. Be Open – with the good news and the bad news.

We’re all good at announcing good news, but no one likes to deliver bad news. The reality is that sometimes you have to.

As a professional you must demonstrate professionalism. Firstly, when something goes really well don’t be shy. Let them know how great it’s been. Let clients share in the success, but be careful not to appear pompous or egotistical.

Also, recognize that bad situations are opportunities for you to look good. Your best defense is candor. If you prepare your client and come to the table with viable solutions you will be seen as a partner not a supplier and your creditability will be boosted. Collaboration and transparency are essential.

If the client isn’t told, most often the problem or issue will become more serious because the client is left to find out on their own with time to prepare.

Conclusion:

You must earn your client’s trust and respect—and that trust and respect is maintained over time. The great thing is that trusted relationships with clients are in each of our best interests.

Trust is fragile. Your work depends on it.

Imagine work being easier. Imagine work being more productive.

Happy communicating.

Click here to join our priority list of people who receive our latest Business Communication blog posts.

If you enjoyed this post we think you’ll like:

Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Email Etiquette, Managing Difficult Conversations, Multigenerational Training, Time Management and Mindfulness.

Find answers to your Professional Development questions / needs at brucemayhewconsulting.com.

Give us a call at 416 617 0462. We’ll listen.

Bruce Mayhew on Canada AM

Click on the image to watch us on Canada AM.

I’d enjoy reading your comments on this post.

We work to build long-term, collaborative relationships that maximize your overall success and earnings.

%d bloggers like this: