Building a culture of radical trust is the key to creativity, according to this CEO
- Tomer Bar Zeev is the CEO and cofounder of ironSource.
- He writes that radical trust gets the most out of talented employees - meaning giving them the most room possible to do their jobs.
- To foster a creative culture, leaders need to step back, accept failure as a potential outcome, create human connections, and encourage their team to have agendas.
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It's not uncommon for leaders to claim well-built teams, products, and business units originated from people who took the initiative and had the courage to create.
But what exactly fosters a culture where people have the courage to create?
I believe that trust - and not just normal trust, but radical trust - holds the key to getting the most out of talented employees.
Instilling trust in the workplace ensures a company's individual team members have the confidence and resources to leverage their strengths in a supportive environment. I see this in my own day-to-day work - I'm a CEO of CEOs, overseeing eight cofounders, and managing individuals like that can be a challenge.
The only right way to do it is to give them as much room as possible to do their jobs. In short, give them clear areas of ownership and responsibility and whole-heartedly trust them to get the job done.
What happens within a culture of radical trust? Employees feel empowered to take initiative so creativity thrives. When creativity is unleashed, greatness emerges, and you end up with unexpected, and often lucrative, new products.
Here are four key steps to creating that atmosphere:
1. Step way back
Don't encourage people to think they should come to you (or their manager) for decisions. Reinforce the idea that if they are on the front lines of a role or a specific task they are going to be better equipped to make important decisions. You're there to provide guidance, not to make important decisions for them.
2. Don't punish people for failing
In a culture of radical trust, failure isn't an offense - it's a possible outcome. This is obviously a tricky one, but if you punish failure, people will quickly learn that taking the initiative isn't worth the risk, and you'll stifle creativity and growth.
3. Have pointless conversations to create real connections
It can be very easy to fall into a trap where urgency takes over, and every conversation, interaction, or meeting has to fulfill a particular purpose. In order for people to feel you trust them, they need to feel some level of human connection that goes beyond their role. And if an employee believes you see them for more than just their specific role, they will be more likely to think of ways they can step beyond that role and impact the company positively.
4. Encourage people to have an agenda
If you've hired well, chances are the talented people at your company have interesting insights and perspectives on where your business is, and where it can go. If you encourage people to have an agenda - and create the space for that agenda to express itself - you'll not only get to leverage their insight, you'll make them realise that their point of view is valuable and can contribute to long-term business success.
Radical trust is risky. But it pays dividends far in excess of the potential risks it brings. In the end, radical trust brings radical results.
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