Trust is key to moving forward for managers and business owners: Simon Merrell, of Merrell People

Written by: Tracy Clark, ceo Infobuzz & Young Gloucestershire | Posted 23 July 2020 6:00

Trust is key to moving forward for managers and business owners: Simon Merrell, of Merrell People

Organisation’s need trust more so than ever. Uncertainty and remoteness impact on our ability to feel safe and well.

Our ability to build and maintain relationships and perform can suffer too. One leader I was speaking to recently captured it well by reflecting on their organisation’s situation:

“Some of our managers are struggling to trust their teams who are now remote working. I am struggling to explain what the future might be and I know our staff are struggling with how changeable everything is.”

David Rock has taken a lot of good empirical research and created the SCARF model. It is an accessible and helpful look at five factors that strengthen or undermine trust.  

Status – a sense of personal worth

Certainty – a sense of what the future holds

Autonomy – a sense of control over life

Relatedness – a sense of safety with others

Fairness – how I am being treated in relation to others

All five SCARF factors are at play in the above scenario. The question for managers and leaders is: How do we build / maintain trust in the current circumstances?

Trust is not about getting along and being nice. It is about reducing the threat to ourselves and others so that we can approach the more challenging and intimate subjects in a safer way. We do that by acknowledging how we are and putting greater focus on what is going on with others. We work with good intent and assume others are working good intentions too.

The business case for strengthening trust is strong. The Edelmen Trust Barometer tracks our trust in organisations, government, NGO’s and media. There is a relatively flat down-ward trend since 2013. As a species we are relatively good at spotting deception.  

Organisations that can build trust with employees, customers, communities and partners have an opportunity to stand-out and build a strong reputation. There is a risk in trust that makes this a bold move.

Why is trust important to your organisation?

What is the case for increasing levels of trust?

How will you best do this?

How do I impact the trust others place in me?

Simon Merrell is founder and director of Merrell People, which focuses on change, leadership and learning.

Email: simon@merrellpeople.com. Telephone: 07504 910614.

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