This Blog is written Jeremy Lewis, WiseWork Partner, to coincide with “T is for Trust” week in the WiseWork “A to Z”.
“Culture is what people do when no one is looking,” said Herb Kelleher, CEO Southwest Airlines.
“I can’t trust my team are getting on with their work when I can’t see them in the office.” You may have some sympathy with this position: our attention spans are falling and we have access to distractions on portable and wearable tech that is growing exponentially. However this “new” tech gives us choice and freedom to access information and entertainment when it suits us, when it fits around our other commitments, whether they relate to work or leisure time, family life, exercise or hobbies. It enables us to be more productive, to research any topic in moments, to broaden our knowledge base and connect with people across the globe instantly. I suggest any manager who can’t trust their team either has the wrong people or is locked into a 20th century management mindset that belongs in the past. Either way, it is a failure that is down to weak and insecure managers.
Recent research by Virgin Media Business found 1.6m UK workers already regularly work from home and 66% of employees say collaborative relationships make them feel more focused and productive.
It’s time to reappraise these archaic management assumptions
What happens if we assume people respond positively to being trusted and are more productive if they are encouraged to collaborate? The evidence suggests we can step back from those unfounded worries of the weak and insecure manager. You hired your people to do a job. Presumably, you have discussed and agreed objectives with them and are measuring the outcomes they produce? Presumably there are consequences for them delivering or not delivering those objectives? And presumably there are standards for their behaviour at work and support for them to develop their skills and be the best they can be? If not, there is work to do on your culture, but don’t let managers off the hook. When these things are in place, good management allows people to thrive, embeds the culture you seek and improves organisational effectiveness.
At Wisework, we believe in people. We believe individuals and teams can be trusted to choose how they work. Get the enabling infrastructure right (tech, office space and management practices) and educate your managers how to trust and be trusted by their people. “I empower and trust my people to get on with their work and choose how best to get the job done together. I’m here to help them get unstuck if they run into problems.” Now that’s more like it!
“When the culture is strong, you can trust everyone to do the right thing.” Brian Chesky, CEO AirBnB