Aligning Expectations and Information to Build Trust

Aligning Expectations and Information to Build Trust

At Entrepreneur, leadership consultant Matthew Wride examines trust in the workplace through the lens of a Nobel Prize-winning economics theory “on how markets operate when transactions involve asymmetrical information“:

Asymmetrical information is the enemy of trust. Unsurprisingly, trust is eroded when we believe others are withholding information or where we do not have enough information on our end to move forward with conviction. We hesitate, just like the used-car buyer who frets over whether he is getting the deal of a lifetime or a bucket of bolts and a set of blown valves, worn rings and a barely-working water pump. …

In our view, trust is best fortified and grown through expectation alignment. …

Interestingly, my firm has found that the nature of a person’s expectations is less important than whether there is alignment between the parties. Again, the used car market illustrates this point all too well. If we buy a low-priced car and it breaks down, we become less upset because “we got what we paid for.” On the other side, nothing is more frustrating that than paying top price for a late model Honda Accord, only to find yourself stuck with a costly repair bill. Just like we don’t relish surprises with our used cars, employees do not thrive when there are too many surprises at work. They prefer consistency and predictability.

This is one of several articles and studies our team has come across reinforcing the value of trust for organizational performance and highlighting the challenges of nurturing trust in today’s environment. Trust has also been a key theme in several of the best practices we’ve published in our recent research on enterprise contribution and enterprise leadership.

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Knowledge Sharing is Power Sharing

Knowledge Sharing is Power Sharing

Power in the workplace depends to a significant extent on which people has access to what information, and a tyrannical boss can assert dominance by controlling that access. Writing from her own experience with bosses who deliberately shut her out of decision-making and withhold information from her, Margery Weinstein at Training Magazine wonders whether this sort of thing happens to women more often than it does to men:

Access to information is what people need to advance and prove themselves. When employees are brought into important conversations early, they have the opportunity to contribute ideas and influence how plans are implemented. When they are brought in at the last minute, they are left in a helpless position. The decisions have already been made, and the plans are in place, with the employee’s job at that point to just smile, nod, and say, “Yes.”

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