Photo credit: infocus.london
I recently read an article that celebrated a high-tech company that decided to give its employees the great benefit of an unlimited number of vacation days. And the company leaders expect this move to lead to better results for the company.
I also applaud this move and believe that it will lead to better performance and results. And yet, not necessarily because more vacation days will improve the well-being of company employees, and reduce their level of stress. While clearly, the company can expect those benefits. In addition, I believe that the key factor in the long-term improvement of the company’s performance will be greater trust.
Because letting employees take unlimited vacation days sends a strong message: we trust you. Also, the same is true for flextime, telecommuting, and any other leadership tool that can build trust.
Trust is the glue of life
I believe that trust is the foundation of great organizations and successful companies.
Trust leads to confidence. Confidence brings out the best in a person, which leads to better performance. Employees that feel trusted demonstrate greater commitment and loyalty and have lower levels of stress and anxiety.
An environment of trust makes true cooperation possible, decision making simpler (and faster), and communication more efficient. It leads to high-performance teams and companies.
creating a trust-based organization
However, creating a trust-based organization requires leaders to sincerely believe in it and fully commit to it. Employees must feel that this is genuine and that they are really trusted. Any conflicting message, such as allowing an unlimited number of vacation days but actually counting them, will adversely affect employees trust and lead to lower commitment and dissatisfaction.
And yet, leaders should not be naive or ignore any violation of trust. On the contrary, to build an environment of trust, one must be vigilant in addressing any abuse of this trust. The company should remove any employee that doesn’t fit such a culture, and clearly communicate the cause. Furthermore, people need to feel that trust is mutual and that company leaders respect and expect it. And that lack of trust is not tolerated. For distrust is like cancer, if you do not identify it and deal with it promptly, it will spread and destroy the entire organization.
And yet, that should not deter leaders from choosing to trust. Even if occasionally you will experience disappointments, I believe it’s the best way to build a great company.
Finally, to quote Stephen Covey: “Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships”.
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