It’s often said that employees don’t work for companies; they work for people. Similarly, employees don’t build trust with the companies they work for – they build trust with the people they work for. Through that lens, it’s easy to see why fostering trust between leadership and employees is paramount to a productive work environment and long-tenured employees.
According to Psychology Today, there are 10 behaviors that demonstrate trust. Although internal communications will never make up for ineffective leadership, there are aspects of these behaviors internal communications practitioners should keep in mind as they help their company’s leadership communicate.
Here are some of the behaviors listed in Psychology Today that leaders should be aware of, along with ways internal communications can reinforce those behaviors:
You influence more by your actions than your words.
Internal communications revolves around words and crafting messages, so it’s important to make sure the words of leadership simply and effortlessly emphasize their actions. If a leader’s words don’t align with his or her actions, the words will be ignored or, worse, cause damage.
You are self-aware.
Don't risk your communication coming off as tone deaf – be fully aware of the complications and nuances of a situation before you start communicating. You don’t necessarily need to address every rumor or concern, but you also don’t want to act like they don’t exist. Ignoring real problems can further stoke frustrations, giving the impression that leadership isn’t taking the time to understand.
You tell considered stories.
This is an excellent behavior for internal communicators to keep in mind! Who doesn’t love a well-told story? Whether you use a relevant story from the organization’s or leader’s past or a small anecdote to illustrate a broader trend, storytelling is a powerful tool for making your point.
Long term, think about your company’s story and how you can infuse that into your day-to-day communications. Many of our clients take their storytelling the extra mile and publish corporate history books.
The bottom line: Although communication can’t build trust that doesn’t already exist, it can help support leadership’s efforts to build and maintain that trust.