Success factor #1: Trust

Published on: 6. February 2024


Nicole Neubauer

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In recent years, the world has undergone rapid change due to digitalization. This has affected both, our personal communication and the economy. However, we have yet to fully adapt our processes and business models to these new conditions and opportunities.

Now, we face an even greater challenge: artificial intelligence (AI) is being increasingly utilized in education, research, and the economy. It is also becoming a crucial aspect for companies to consider.

Certainties are disappearing and the world of work is rapidly changing. AI will replace many services, requiring new talents, skills, and processes that are currently unknown and lack established career models. However, amidst this change, there is one constant that technology can never replace, no matter how sophisticated: trust.

According to Professor Robert Hurley’s research findings in his book ‘The Decision to Trust: How Leaders Create High-Trust Organizations’, the situation is bad.  In a survey of 450 managers from 30 companies, half of the respondents reported a lack of trust in their superiors. They described their working environment as threatening, stressful, and lacking in team spirit. The other half praised the working atmosphere as motivating, supportive, pleasant, and productive.

It is evident that the factor of ‘trust’ is becoming increasingly important in the competition for top talent, particularly for a new generation that prioritizes appreciation, teamwork, and motivational leadership over compensation. Therefore, how can managers guarantee that their employees trust them and that this trust is reciprocated with a high level of loyalty and commitment from the team?

There are three main factors that contribute to trust: authenticity, logic, and competence

  • Authenticity refers to employees experiencing their manager’s true personality.
  • Logic means that the manager is professionally competent and has sound judgment.                   
  • The employee feels valued and supported, fostering a sense of empathy.

When recruiting managers and optimizing team composition in a company, it will be increasingly important to create a trusting work environment that rewards an appreciative and motivating culture with high levels of loyalty and commitment.

Consider Hogan Scales

Scores on the Hogan personality assessments can provide insight into potential barriers for building trust within teams. For example, individuals with high scores on the Skeptical scale of the Hogan Development Survey (HDS) can be less likely to trust others. When they’re under stress or not self-monitoring, they might assume others have ulterior motives. Providing this insight to individuals who score high on the Skeptical scale can be a first step to fight against the tendency to shut others out and develop a plan to help them foster trust.

While Skeptical is a good example of a scale that can be used to build trust, several other scales can be used to help build team trust as well. Notably, these include the HDS Bold scale, which measures the tendency to resist feedback and appear arrogant, and the HDS Excitable scale, which measures the tendency to appear temperamental and critical when under stress.