Building a team takes honesty and consistency and most important transparency. I’ve worked as an employee on more than 50 different corporate teams and I’ve seen firsthand how dishonesty by elimination of information can create bitter, resentful and skittish employees. I know almost everyone has worked for someone that they just didn’t trust, not because they had ever caught them lying, but they never felt they were telling the whole truth either.
In order to build trust in any relationship – friendship, work or otherwise, you have to allow the other person to feel a sense of trust. If you are secretive and hide certain information from them, it will eventually leak out and put you on the defensive as you try hard to justify why it was kept a secret.
Some coaches recommend that you always want to spread the good news and hide the bad news. This can be great advice partially because you want to keep the energy positive as a motivation tool. Especially with startups, you have to somewhat protect people from the harsh reality of the financials as some fragile personalities may get up and run at the sign of a bad payroll. On the other hand though, making it all seem very cheery will work against you because once the employee finds out even a thread of negative information that you didn’t share, they will lose trust for you and wonder what else you might be hiding. There is a fine balance in sharing both the good and bad of the company status.
Finding that balance is a matter of being truly authentic to yourself and your contractors or team. If you are able to stay strong and positive in the midst of bad news and continue to ask for honest feedback – those people that stick around are going to pass the litmus test. These are the employees that you want to surround yourself with. Those that run at the first sign of instability are not necessarily the workers you want to keep around. Test them with honesty and see if they stick.