No Trust, No Engagement

by Frank Roche on February 27, 2012

in Culture

Am I the only one that gets really nervous when submitting to turnitin, even though I know I didn’t plagiarize? — NYU business school student, Steve Roche (yep, my son) on Facebook

“Trust, but verify” is a saying in journalism. It means people who talk to the press often have an agenda. And they need to be fact checked. That’s for the public good.

But can you imagine applying that approach at home? Imagine each time your spouse told you something, you doubted it. And said so. Imagine telling your teenager that you don’t trust him just on principle. Imagine telling your friend that you like her, but you don’t believe her.

Why is that okay with employees?

You want engagement? Trust them. Set up a culture of mutual respect. Believe.

You can’t get engagement without trust. That means you have to ask yourself why you’re monitoring their phone calls. And email. Why you’re letting IT give you reports on private messages and website usage.

Communicate what matters to you. Reinforce that. But don’t use the word “trust” in an environment where you’re clearly demonstrating that you don’t. It’s unseemly. Especially if the only ones who believe your “trust” message are in HR, IT and Legal.

Leave “trust, but verify” to the journalists.

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