Few things can help an individual more than to place responsibility on him, and to let him know that you trust him.
—Booker T. Washington
In Chapter 6, we wrote of what we called a “truth recession” that both predated and accompanied the 2007–2009 worldwide financial recession. It seems accurate to say that the workforce’s trust in their management has sustained damage that is at worst irreparable and at best will require a long rehabilitation. No less significant in the way that institutions function is the degree of trust that travels in the other direction—the trust that organizations vest in their people.
Think about it: in their private lives, your employees (and ours) are heads of families, civic leaders, military reserve officers, mortgage holders, and a host of other things. They somehow manage to feed themselves and their families every day, pay their bills on time, stay out of jail, and behave normally by most standards. In short, they tend to be rather competent individuals who clearly understand the difference between right and wrong.
Why is it, then, that these people face a continual barrage of not so subtle signs of our mistrust in them when they come to work? We seem to find new ways every day to treat them like children, or worse. If you disagree, consider this: if you offered to pay a neighbor’s teenager to pick up some groceries for you at the store, which of the following—if any—would you do when they returned with the ...