What do people need in order to feel relaxed and happy at work (or anywhere)? Maslow’s hierarchy of needs from the 1940s is still true, and it’s pretty simple.
As human beings, we absolutely need:
- To belong to a group
- To feel secure
- To feel needed and valued
- To feel values-aligned in the way we spend our day
- To be encouraged through a growth mindset
- To be seen and heard as individuals
While you can get really complicated about how to set this up within your organisation – and certainly complex problems can arise – leaders and managers who understand these human needs can quickly see where things can be adjusted, even slightly, for greatly improved results. Demonstrating to an individual staff member that you see the potential in them and asking them what they need, for example, is a matter of making it every leader and manager’s concern at your organisation. Are your up-and-coming leaders all aware of and skilled in this area?
The point is, if happy people are better people, then it makes sense to prioritise this as part of your overarching business strategy.
2. How individuals and collective (communications, culture, brand) come across to others
“Simplicity and naturalness are the truest marks of distinction.” – W. Somerset Maugham
While the truth is gonna getcha, perception matters too. Sometimes potential in people, products, services and organisations aren’t even seen because initial perception gets in the way. But again, this doesn’t have to be complicated.
On a psychological level, when we look at what contributes to trustworthiness, beyond ‘doing the right thing’, it is about how you are perceived by others:
- Because our lizard brains are wired to see the ‘other’ as a threat, relatability is essential to trust – do I see you as someone like me, who understands me? Do you seem approachable and ‘human’?
- At the same time as appearing ‘human’, credibility matters – and this comes down to your professionalism, your track record, social proof that you can do what you say you can do, projecting confidence and articulating clarity of purpose and process.
When it comes to a trustworthy image, it needs to be real, and simply articulated, and consistent. This has obvious implications for brand, but also how your people represent your brand. And while there are many aspects to brand expression, it is possible to analyse, plan for, and upskill your people in what I call ‘Brand Culture’.
So yes, there are some big issues to be addressed in building/re-building trust, and the larger the organisation, the more challenging it can be. However, it’s easy to forget the simple but most important truth that we are actually individual human beings within these organisations, and what we need as human beings to trust and be trusted comes down to some very basic factors. If you’re getting them right, you are most likely ahead of the pack.