UQ Business School engaged Dr Graham Dietz and Dr Nicole Gillespie for a study on Building and Restoring Organisational Trust, and found three characteristics leaders need to build trust:
- Competence – the knowledge, skills and experience to do the job
- Benevolence – people want to feel their leaders have their best interests at heart
- Integrity – the adherence to a set of clear principles such as honesty and fairness
Ultimately, trust can only be created by behaving in a trustworthy manner on a consistent basis and delivering on integrity, competence and benevolence. Trust arises through respect, transparency, knowledge and diversity of ideas and influence. These are not new concepts.
They are fundamental aspects of our true nature. To access them, we need to ‘unlearn’ many of the stereotypes we have been taught about business. In particular, we need to unlearn that control and command systems are effective, that secrecy and deceit enhance value, and that benevolence and integrity are actions that business often associates with weakness or naivety. To restore trust in modern-day commerce, financial services firms need to change customer perceptions around ruthless, manipulative or hard-talking advisors being good for business.
For wealth professionals, it starts with better questioning at the customer interface to understand their needs and concerns more fully. Recommend less than the absolute maximum tolerable risk, and you will find, in the long run, your trust will be rewarded.