‘Trust’ is an integral part of any relationship. It is a 2-way street with ‘Truthfulness’ and ‘Transparency’ riding high on it.
Almost a decade ago, as I battled cancer, I had no choice of turning away my customers nor closing down my practice. I had no choice but to trust my small team to deliver without me. I watched them learn and grow. Rise and fall. Feel empowered and confident. I Trusted & Delegated. The team took Ownership.
Long before COVID, I changed the medical leave rules. Made it unlimited with pay. I trusted my team to avail sick leave only when actually unwell. It worked. In the last several years, each time every one of them has shared with me the actual health reason for abstaining from work.
As we close the 2nd year of the 3rd decade of the 21st century, and get ready to welcome a bright new 2023, my ‘trust’ in trusting employees has grown deeper and stronger. Let me share 3 latest instances:
One of my girls who had joined less than an year ago was to get married. While she was excited and broke the news happily to me, she was mindful of the consequences her absence would have when majority of the team would go on exam leave in December (every Company Secretary firm grapples with skeletal staff thanks to the CS exams every 6 months once !). She chose a combo of WFH and leave and deferred her honeymoon to 2023 (yes, she did that !), just so that she can contribute until the office functions with full quorum. This thoughtful initiative and commitment to work came from her, on her own. Trust is a 2-way street as I said. The young bride managed her wedding-leave beautifully !
Another girl was juggling her time between work and caring for her ailing mother in another city for last couple of years. A hybrid of WFH and WFO option helped her immensely. Only because she was truthful about her challenges and her aspirations. Unfortunately, she lost her mother recently. Bereaved she was but not bereft of sense of duty. She called her colleagues the very next day and ensured an effective work handover so that the impact of her absence is minimal. She continued to work intermittently and resumed after a short break. This attitude helped us manage the dreaded ‘December-exam-leave’ period smoothly. Again, it was her pay-back gesture towards the team that filled in during her bereavement leave.
Well, what can I say about this petite, school-girl-like, employee of mine who handles many clients over the years ? She is so well-planned and meticulous that she can as well be named “Timeliness” 😊! She planned her maternity leave (ML) so well that the work-handover began months in advance as she availed a 2 month WFH option before signing off on the 6-month ML. She chose to be active at work until the last day before her little one arrived. She cared for her clients, her work and her colleagues as much as she did for her bundle-of-joy. Her thoughtful planning reflects her attitude of Transparency !
I have just picked 3 recent instances but it is incredible how rest of the team has risen to the occasion and held fort ungrudgingly, not only in these instances but also in several others over the years, despite their own personal challenges. Their remarkable solidarity with one another is so heartening. Stemming as I said, from the culture of 3 Ts – Trust, Truthfulness & Transparency !!