Evoke Development Blog

Building Trust through Consistency

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Consistency in your communication efforts will demonstrate sincerity and integrity. Your ability to accurately recall an employee’s family dynamics can be an invaluable experience, or not.  Remembering that Kathy’s husband is recovering from knee surgery or that Mark’s wife is dealing with breast cancer when you meet them in the hallways or cafeteria can strengthen your connection. However, if you bump into Gerald and ask how Susan is doing in her recovery from a broken foot when it was actually Ted’s son who broke his foot…. you most likely lost two employees as they will talk and share a laugh courtesy of you.  Your sincerity, or integrity of effort, with your team will foster loyalty, that heart-focused connection, which is vital to retention.   While we’re on the topic of integrity, please keep in mind something that I have validated on several occasions, loyalty is a by-product of integrity, not the other way around.   Stated another way, when someone asks for your “loyalty” they are not necessarily asking you to do the “right” thing; however, when you are asked for your integrity, you are being asked to do what’s “right.”

So, how do you keep your team’s personal details straight in the midst of paperwork, deadlines, and pressures that seem to compound on a daily basis.  Consider bulking up your employee logs, or as we referred to them in the Navy, your Division Officer’s notebook. Make this tool powerful by developing a routine to keep it current and being meticulous.   Remember, these logs are a legally-recognized method and can be submitted into evidence if an employee pursues legal action.  That said, don’t avoid using these logs because they can be used in the courtroom, they are too beneficial. Two things to keep in mind…

  • Every employment decision you make must be based only on qualifications and performance. This underscores the importance of including only objective, performance-based observations in employee logs. Any statement that would be inappropriate in a conversation is also inappropriate in an employee log.
  • Never make reference in log entries to a worker’s race, sex, age, disability, marital status, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, or national origin. Don’t suggest reasons for employee actions or make connections between events without direct evidence. If an employee tells you he is having trouble concentrating because of problems at home, you can note the comment in his own words in your log. But, your focus must remain solely on work-related issues.

Another tool to consider using that will help maintain consistency in your communication is a philosophy statement.  No more than a one-page document that you can post in the workspaces, online, or hand out.  This short and succinct philosophy statement will serve as a reference point for your team when they’re carrying out your direction or wondering “what would the boss do?”.  Your philosophy statement needs to in line with Corporate tenets, but be in your words.  It will put your thumbprint on areas that you are accountable for and make it harder for people to misinterpret your intent, especially when you’re not around to add clarity.  And, it will serve the added benefit of being a self-assessment tool for you; how closely are you practicing what you preach?

I will discuss Creative communications in my next post; the second pillar of C3 Communication.

Copyright © 2016 Evoke Development LLC. All rights reserved. You may reprint this entire article - please include the copyright and the following info "Evoke Development provides organizational and leadership development services with an Individualized focus that Optimizes talent and Energizes the Organization.  Wally Lovely is a speaker, coach, and consultant who recently retired after a 33-year career as a Surface Warfare Officer in the U.S. Navy."

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