In my last post, I talked about the importance of words. We use them to encourage and build up as well as to berate and tear down. How we use our words to offer reproof and correction will determine whether they are received in a constructive sense. Much more can be written about words and the way we use them. But what does this have to do with culture?
There is a great deal of current discussion around culture. The culture of a workplace. In the home we tend not to call it culture, we refer to it as the environment or climate of the home. Effectively, however, these are very similar, if not the same thing. Culture tends to be defined by the integrity of the leadership, the trust and confidence placed in the employees, the expectations around work life balance, and many other factors. Similarly, in the home, the environment is often described as loving, trusting, supportive, etc. In both environments, trust is a key component. Can the leadership of the workplace or home be trusted. Will we be treated fairly and consistently is the question often asked.
The old adage, “Actions speak louder than words.” is so true in this context. Our words have a very hollow and empty sound when our actions deliver a conflicting message. We can lead our teams to meet objectives. But if, after meeting those objectives, we declare a different set of rules for ourselves, trust is destroyed. Bonuses and commissions are classic areas of leadership missteps. Making commitments and then disregarding them destroys trust. Being a leader or a parent or a child who keeps their promises is critical to the success of relationships. In the same way, valuing relationships to the extent you are willing to put others ahead of yourself fosters trust.
This is not to say that some relationships are not healthy and should not be pursued. When we encounter people who are intent on using you to promote or satisfy their own needs, you should love that person, but from a distance. A culture of trust is a mutual and reciprocal thing. Even God at some point turns men over to their own desires, while He still loves them. Yet the abusive and offending person, needs to know that they are loved and when they choose to change their behavior, they will be welcomed back.
If you are a leader and/or parent, what are you doing to secure an environment or culture of trust? What is the cultural tone that is being set by the combination of your words and actions? The book of James says that faith without works is dead. So if we claim to have faith but don’t follow it up with our actions, our faith is of no value. In the workplace and the home, if our claims (words) aren’t followed by supporting actions, we become untrustworthy and we destroy the relationships that grease the wheels on which mutual love and respect are riding. I’m going to close this segment with a quote from the opening of Stephen R. Covey’s Speed of Trust.
“There is one thing that is common to every individual, team, family, organization, nation, economy, and civilization throughout the world – one thing if removed will destroy the most powerful government, the most successful business, the most thriving economy, the most influential leadership, the greatest friendship, the strongest character, the deepest love.
On the other hand, if developed and leveraged, that one thing has the potential to create unparalleled success and prosperity in every dimension of life. Yet it is the least understood, most neglected, and most underestimated possibility of our time.
That one thing is trust.”
How are you doing in building an environment of trust in the workplace or in your family life? How would your family and team(s) describe your culture? We could go much further on this topic, but hopefully this will give us some things to consider. Have a great day!