The Nation



Managers must build trust to achieve greater effectiveness

Earning respect the right way

Q: I am tired of some people who continue to oppose the way I run my department. Honestly, I have already reached the edge of my tolerance and patience in having to defend my views, decisions and leadership style over the last four years. Although I have won the war of taming them all this while, I have still lost the "battle", as I have lost some good people except the bunch of disloyal and discontented people who are still sticking around. My bosses are now warning me that the situation may turn worse and that I must do something fast to avoid more "bloodshed". I want to do a makeover to gain their trust and be on the same page with the many things we do. So where do I start?

Lost Cause

Gaining their respect is gaining their trust as well. This is the first and probably the only place to start and work on seriously. Their general perception of you that I can imagine is not much of it right now.As long as this negative situation persists, no matter what you do, rightly or wrongly, it is still wrong to them! I am also not even sure you are able to trust yourself in doing what you are doing! In such a state of mind, you probably cannot think and do things straight, as you may not trust yourself!

The bottom line: Trust is a kind of maturity where you feel secure with yourself and with the confidence that there are more good people than bad who will support you than harm you. This is the most basic aspect of the law of attraction, which holds that you will attract the kind of positive or negative energy that you deserve. When this happens, you can look into other ways of building trust with people.

There are a few areas to do this in. Firstly, it is about truth telling, which is easily gauged from the extent of congruence between what you do and say, in both your spoken and unspoken words, at all times. Secondly, it is about your dependability, which is determined by how frequently your promises are kept. Thirdly, it is in your predictability, which is measured by the number of surprises (or shocks) people experience in your mood swings or in the decisions you make. Fourthly, it concerns your sincerity in striving for the common good of everyone, instead of promoting your self-interests only. Lastly, it is your respect for others in safeguarding their dignity and pride and not abusing their feeling, self-image and values.

Powerful questions: What insights have you gained from the different encounters with your people? What do they tell you that you ought to do? Where does respect for others stand in your value system? How do you feel when you live up to it?

Making a paradigm shift work

Q: We have run out of ideas on how to be more effective in the organisation. Our R&D department, which is responsible for new ways of doing business, is not helping much, either. Instead of cost-saving and staying lean in our structure, we always end up spending more trying to get more people to support and perfect a work system. To quote a recent case, we now have an automated call system so that customers can tell us about problems with our software. But this is costing us lots of money and manpower compared to the manual system.


The trouble is, many people wrack their brains to find new ways of doing things, even though they have come to a dead-end in their imagination. Yes, we all need to be determined to break out of the old ways, to get to something new and refreshing. Technically, this is a wonderful life principle. However, we need to be more practical and less stubborn, and to accept that when old ways do not work anymore, a totally new thinking has to be generated.

The bottom line: Break out from the normal cultural way of thinking for other exciting possibilities to take shape. Take your case for example; instead of trying to perfect your call-centre model, you could explore a totally new world altogether. Like for instance, introducing training programmes to "teach your customers how to fish, instead of giving them the fish". Perhaps this way, they may not bother your staff anymore because they are now more self-sufficient, rather that sticking with the old system, which continues to make them helpless and dependable forever!

Powerful questions: How happy are you with the current ideas? What is it that you are looking for that is still missing? How can you totally change the fundamentals to get something that bears little resemblance to the existing method? What new possibilities do you get when you do this?

Corporate Coach Academy is a coaching school in Asia to certify leaders of all backgrounds to become manager-coaches or professional certified coaches in this region. Log in at or e-mail for details.

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