We all know that great leadership is demonstrated by high engagement in the workplace. But did you know that at the core of engagement is Oxytocin? Oxytocin is commonly called the trust molecule, as well as the hormone most commonly associated with mother and child bonding.
Dr Love (aka Dr. Paul Zak) is a neuro-economist at Claremont Graduate University. He’s also a self-professed nerd who loves to be in his lab ‘avoiding humans’. Surprisingly, he’s also one of the world’s foremost experts on the love molecule, Oxytocin.
Says Dr. Zak, There’s a very clear mapping from positive social relationships back to health, he says. More oxytocin means less cardiovascular stress and an improved immune system.
In short oxytocin is the chemical the brain produces in response to being trusted.
That’s good news for many of us. All of this bodes well for the economics of a healthy workplace and the foundation principles of great leadership. Adds Jan Hills, partner with Head, Heart and Brain, in her article “Science of Engagement, The Key is Trust”,
“When participants felt they were trusted, their brains responded by producing oxytocin, and when participants were shown increased levels of trust their brain produced even more oxytocin.”
How Emotions Drive Engagement in Great Leadership
“Employee engagement is what happens when companies win over the hearts and minds of employees in ways that lead to extraordinary effort and positive financial results.” – BI Worldwide
Nothing meaningful happens in the workplace until people are engaged emotionally. This comes from trust. And trust is of course a product of great leadership.
A recent Newsweaver’s infographic very clearly illustrates:
- Companies with higher employee engagement see the biggest financial gains in their sales growth and shareholder return, compared to an average company.
- Companies with lower employee engagement see the biggest financial loss in their shareholders return, compared to an average company.
This Jacobs Model of Workplace Trust was developed by employee motivation guru, Susanne Jacobs.
Jacobs ties the development of trust to these eight essential drivers:
- Belong and connect
- Voice and recognition
- Significance and position
- Learn and challenge
- Choice and autonomy
- Security and certainty
The Four Elements of Trust in Great Leadership
Ken Blanchard says the four elements of trust are:
- Demonstrating competence
- Acting with integrity
- Demonstrating care and concern for others
- Following through on what you say you’re going to do
The typical workplace is at risk of becoming dysfunctional-ly connected, adds Blanchard.
“People crave a deeper human connection at work. They need to feel a more personal and authentic connection with their managers and their peers that goes beyond what technology can provide.”
Great Leadership and The Speed of Trust
In his bestseller, The Speed of Trust, Stephen Covey tells us
Trust impacts us 24/7, 365 days a year. It under-girds and affects the quality of every relationship, every communication, every work project, every business venture, every effort in which we are engaged. … trust is a pragmatic, tangible, actionable asset that you can create – much faster than you probably think possible.
We trust people because they showed up when it wasn’t convenient,. We trust people because they told the truth when it was easier to lie. We trust people because they kept a promise when they could have gotten away with breaking it.
Great Leadership Creates Trust From the Get-go When Hiring
Regurgitating a gobbly-gook mishmash of someone else’s mission statement in your lunch room will get you about as far as your next mediocre hire. So heed this warning well: Trust is the single most important foundational value sought in great leaders and in high performance employees.do not pretend to be someone you’re not when trying to woo a star candidate.
You may not have an exact, crystal clear vision of what your organization will look like in the future, but you need to be very concise about the values you are in search of when hiring top talent. And you need to be able to articulate those values clearly at all times.
Clarity and conviction around your values and culture conveys authenticity which is essential to building a trusting relationship with that star candidate in front of you, regardless of whether or not they come to work for you.
Great Leadership is about giving first, reaping the rewards later.
I was recently reminded of this when reading Dr. Leo Buscaglias book, LOVE:
“What love we’ve given we will have forever. What love we fail to give is lost for all eternity.”
Giving, paying it forward, treating others as you would have them treat you … it’s always about putting one’s trust forward, which brings to mind two other essentials in our workplace: authenticity and transparency, powerful precursors to building a trusting workplace.
What’s your leadership philosophy on building a trusting workplace?
Your comments added below are encouraged and greatly appreciated.
Barbara Ashton is President of Ashton & Associates Recruiting, and is a leading social recruiter with close to 14,000 LinkedIn followers.
Ashton & Associates Recruiting … Offices in Kamloops and Kelowna, hiring outstanding people for amazing companies throughout the BC Interior and Okanagan.
This post has been approved for public release by Barbara Ashton. All certified posts carry this Google Authorship link toGoogle.