Lead on Purpose

Promoting Leadership Principles in Product Management

Trust and Job Satisfaction

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One of the most important keys to leading a team is creating an environment of trust. Merriam-Webster defines trust as an “assured reliance on the character, ability, strength or truth of someone or something.” To work successfully as a team, the leader must create a culture where people can rely on the strength and abilities of those they work with and believe in their leader’s direction and vision.

Why is trust important to job satisfaction? People prosper when they know their efforts are appreciated and their work is meaningful. They step up to greater challenges when they know someone has their back. They will go beyond what they thought they could do and have greater results when they know their work will be appreciated and rewarded. Building trust is the key to building a great team.

In their book The Leadership Challenge, authors James Kouzes and Barry Posner highlight the importance of trust in developing job satisfaction: “Trust is the most significant predictor of an individual’s satisfaction with their organization.” Building a culture of trust and collaboration provides incentive for growth, and fulfillment is a natural by-product. Kouzes and Posner give three actions you can take to foster trust and create satisfaction among your team members:

  1. Show trust to build trust: As the leader, be the first one to trust others. Disclose information about who you are and what you believe. Admit mistakes. Listen to others. Acknowledge the contributions of others. Create an environment where people will take risks and reward them for their efforts.
  2. Say ‘we,’ ask questions, listen and take advice: People accomplish great things when they collaborate with others.  Talk in terms of ‘our’: our vision, our values, our goals, our plans, our actions, our achievements. Make sure people see themselves as part of a larger vision.
  3. Get people interacting: Get people interacting with you and with each other. Have informal one-on-one meetings regularly. Hold regular stand-up meetings each morning with your team. Ask questions that encourage people to talk about who they are and what they believe. Hold celebrations in public places and openly reward those who go above and beyond.

As a leader, make creating a culture of trust your highest priority. Go out of your way to connect with people you lead and they will go out of their way to do great things for you. Everyone involved will experience greater job satisfaction as a result.


The Product Management Perspective: Developing trust is a key factor of product leadership. Successful product managers know that trust is bi-directional: they work hard to make sure co-workers from other teams trust their direction and leadership. They also trust that team members will do what they have committed to do. Collaboration is the master skill that allows teams to function effectively. Trust promotes success, and successful people are happy and have high job satisfaction.

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3 thoughts on “Trust and Job Satisfaction

  1. trust in ourself and for the work you are doing is needed and job satisfaction is really important if you are not satisfied by your job or work you will not get result. i agree with both of your points trust and job satisfaction both are necessary.

  2. Interesting article and I would agree that trust does play a part in both successful management and effective performance from teams. If we can trust a manager, we perform for them better – we are driven to impress them. Additionally, if we have their trust, we are often delegated increased responsbility and authority – surely motivating factors for any individual.

    It is increasingly important that people in Leadership positions are familiar with the motivating drives and factors of their immediate reports and teams. As managers, we can learn more about our people through increased interaction with our staff outside working hours, and an increased hands on approach to involvement in work projects.

    Improved insight into the capabilties and limits of our people, through building a culture of trust, and through such vehicles as personality assessments can teach us more about ourselves as managers and how our behaviours impact on the performance of individuals.

  3. Fitting in the workplace really gives a hard time to a lot of people. I think the key is to educate everyone on organizational behavior. I remember when I read the blog of Hammad Siddiqui a few days ago,

    http://hammadsiddiquiblog.com/corporate-culture-%E2%80%93-the-performance-driver/

    it really occurred to me, how many of us just take our corporate lives as granted.

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