Sunday, 16 March 2014

Is Unsolicited Advice Good For Organisational Trust?

It happens to all of us. At the work-place, when we are in a difficult situation, our stress level increases. We feel so tense, and we don’t know what to do? Our enthusiasm wanes, and we feel the need of someone who can help us. Due to our ego levels, we don’t feel the need to seek anyone’s advice. An office colleague who gives us unsolicited advice gives us relief. But, we don’t know to what extent we should trust this unsolicited advice?

People who give unsolicited advice in organizations, do so due to following reasons;
  • Genuine concern for the growth of the employees, ir-respective of hierarchy positions. So, trustworthiness of this category of people is more. They evoke trust from people to whom they give unsolicited advice.
  •  People at higher hierarchy levels feel that they are more powerful. They are status conscious, so they feel that giving unsolicited advice is their natural right.

At the work-place ,unsolicited advice may be primarily related to your work, but, in some cases, unsolicited advice may be related to  your behavior, attitude, personal life, personal relationships, etc. When someone gives you unsolicited advice, you should;
  •  Accept it with an open mind. Say ‘thank you’ to your superior, or even a person who is lower to your rank.
  •  If the advice is related to your style of functioning, work deficiencies, etc , then you should explore the matter by asking clarifications from the person giving unsolicited advice. Listen patiently, without any ego, and with an attitude to learn.
  • Develop your wisdom in such a way that you  are able to assess the genuineness of the advice. In some cases, genuine unsolicited advice stems from a since desire of a person who wants you to explore your potentialities fully. See the body language of the person who is giving   unsolicited advice, and judge the nature of the advice through your eye-contacts.
  •  Judge the merit of the advice by deeply introspecting your work contribution, and assessing your weaknesses, if any. We generally think that we are flawless in our work, and others are inferior.
  • Judge the merit of the advice based on track-record of the person who is giving the advice. Does he have a credible reputation? Has he been the change-maker in the organisation? For how much time do you know the person? What is your comfort level with that person? If the person doesn’t have any reputation, his unsolicited advice should not be taken seriously.

Unsolicited genuine   as well as sincere advice, given to an employee helps build up organizational trust in following ways;
  •       It helps in removing unnecessary ego, and paves the way for genuine dialogue.
  •       It helps in de-bureaucratising organizational structure, and brings in openness.
  •     It helps in building  up trust between two people, which extends beyond organizational boundaries.
  •    It motivates the person who is receiving the advice, to himself seek further advice, which ultimately helps in building up his personality. Over a period of time, he will be  a better performer, and self-reliant to find solutions himself. He will implement the advice in a best spirit.

        Unsolicited advice, if given from a sense of arrogance, or with a  false sense of power s harmful in following ways;
  •   The receiver simply listens to the advice. He becomes a passive listener. He does not implement the advice. He is smart enough to understand that the person giving unsolicited advice is not genuine in intentions. This destroys the trust between two persons.
  •   The receiver feels that the person giving unsolicited advice is forcing his views on other person. This again destroys the chances of emergence of trust in a  natural way.

  I am not an advocate of giving unsolicited advice in organizations. But, tendency to give unsolicited advice  is more related to human psychology, which can  not be curbed. It is a reality in today’s organizations, where tackling relationship management issues have become very complex. My intention through this post is to merely highlight the pros and cons of this issue, so that a clear picture emerges. 

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Six Reasons Why Eldeman Trust Barometer Is Important for India

Eldeman Trust Barometer is eagerly awaited every year. As the issues of trust gain importance, this Barometer is indeed a wake-up call for all the institutions in the country to introspect where they are positioned as far as trust level is concerned. I hereby highlight seven reasons why Trust Barometer is important for India;

1] Business has emerged as the most trusted institution in India. This is surprising considering the fact that economy is in dump, and the markets are down. I think the trust in business has gone up simply because feel that business can give them opportunities for self-employment. The  entrepreneurial culture is growing up fast in the country, which is indicator of people’s trust in their abilities to do business. The business can maintain this high level of trust by generating more jobs through community-centric focus, due to paradigm shift in CSR  recently.  It has become mandatory  for businesses to invest in CSR activities. The  trust results also show that people in other countries don’t have trust. in Indian business units situated there. There is a  distinct  dichotomy in trust here, and it will be a big challenges for Indian business houses to win trust abroad. I think the low trust level in other countries is a handicap here , which has  an impact on image of Indian business abroad.

2] NGOs recording a rise in trust level is a welcome development. It shows that peope are  expecting NGO’s to raise the socio-political issues, so that it puts pressure on the government. Anna Hazare  movement presented a unique model of building up trust. This has given rise to more NGOs adopting a pro-active stance in mobilizing opinion on issues of national concern.

3] The trust level in government has come down, which is a worrisome trend.I think the rise in NGOs trust level is playing a major role here, as peoples’ trust in government has come down because NGOs are exposing weaknesses in the government system here. Surprisingly, the rise in trust level of government official/regulator shows that steps for increasing regulation are gaining more legitimacy due to rise in the corruption level. This does not mean that trust level in  general bureaucracy is rising, may be the trust in solely regulatory officials is high. The results show that only 25 % feel that government officials do the right things. This shows growing distrust level in the government. A cloud of suspicion seems to have come up in people’s minds regarding the actions of government officials, and this is a bad signal for governance in the country.

4] The trust in   media has generally  come down. I think the main reason for this is that people are not fully convinced that media has an un-biased approach. The political and business interests of media remain uppermost on people’s mind. However, trust in traditional media remains high, which is a welcome indicator. I think people have a strong emotional bondage with the traditional media. It Is symbolic of India’s rich  cultural heritage in which traditional media has an important role to play. Social media is still evolving, and has yet to find full legitimacy. With growing social media, traditional media faces a big challenge to maintain its high trust level. Much will  depend on its ability to win people’s credibility through a professional approach in highlighting people’s issues, rather than focusing on elite political class.

5] It is good to know that in individual  category,  and experts are trusted most. I think this category thrives on high degree of professionalism, without biases. It also shows that well-educated brains don’t get their minds corrupted by external influences. The companies and organizations must nurture these think-tanks, which will increase their level of trust.

6] I think the Eldeman Trust Barometer must try to involve other institutions in trust survey. The glaring omissions here are police, judiciary, and politicians. These three institutions are the foundations of trust in our country. The nature of trust is fragile for all these institutions. So, including them in annual trust survey results, will be important in assessing the vibrancy of Indian democracy. While trust deficit in case of politicians is increasing, police and judiciary too are quite vulnerable on this front. Trust in police is low because it is considered a part of State machinery. Similarly, the trust level in judiciary’s independence is low, as the courts today have to increasingly interfere in those cases which could have been resolved by the executive and legislature. The trust survey should also include cooperatives, which are democratic-membership based organizations. They have won the trust of the communities in which they are embedded, the success story of Amul is quite notable here. The cooperatives are not merely economic organizations, but also have a social mission, so the trust quotient is high here.       

Saturday, 8 March 2014

See Guest Column on Trust as Foundation of Society; An Economic Perspective

                                               GUEST COLUMN BY
                                               Dr Anshuman,Professor and Head,Economics
                                               Petroleum University,Dehradun

Trust has been the foundation of every society in all civilizations in all times. Whenever there  has been deficit in trust, it has led to catastrophic effects on the people, societies and countries. All wars, riots, civil wars, etc. are the manifestations of the trust- deficit.In a simple society, the daily activities were run on the basis of trust without any modern institution. People used to keep their money with other respected members of the community on the basis of trust without ay legal agreement. Many business activities were held without any written contract.

With  the economic development , many institutions have sprung up to enforce the contracts , which earlier were performed by trust. However, if one attempts to analyze  the cases of breach of contracts in modern time and earlier time , one would find that cases  of breach of contract are   more in modern society than earlier time in absolute term as well as  proportion of total contracts. Its testimony is modern judiciary flooding with cases of breach of contract by one of the parties in the agreement. It proves that the trust has eroded in the society in general.

 Today, every body is interested in his own advancement with no consideration of others. Though the Economics law propounded by Adam Smith also advocates this philosophy, it has its own flaws. Adam Smith suggested that if each member of the society is advancing its own interest, in doing so, he is also advancing the interest of the society as a whole. However, this law has proved wrong time and again. The recent Sub-prime crisis of the US has again manifested this. The mortgage originators, investment bankers and other players involved in the financial sector worked for maximizing their own profits at the cost of society at large. However, the end result has been the enormous cost inflicted not only on the whole US economy but also on the whole world economy. It  eroded again the trust of Americans in its financial sector and of countries in American economy. It has taken many years to restore this trust again in the American financial sector. Still it is not fully restored, which is evident by weak recovery sign in the economy.                                               

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

See First Guest Column on Trust; An Indian Leadership Perspective from IIRD


                    GUEST COLUMN ON TRUST

  In  the First Guest  Column  Dr L.C.Sharma, Director, Institute For Integrated Rural Development, Shimla [,  comes up  with frank, forthright and honest views on multi-demensional questions related to Trust, Dr Sharma,Director, IIRD can be contacted at

The cosmological phenomenon interprets that the kind of vibrations we emit from our mind either in ideas or in feelings, those respond back to us with their multiple effects. If we emit positive, rational and trustful vibrations, we get the trust with multiple effects and vice-versa. Here the intensity of the vibrations in shape of will at the transmitter end and matching wavelength  at the the receiver end are two crucial factors.  In the corporate world trust is more or less the regulated delegations of responsibilities within defined limits. This is regulated trust based on supervision. Can we imagine a person working sincerely without any supervision and consistently striving for achieving the organisational goals without even being caring for rewards or appreciations? When this process begins; the process of trust building starts.  But in today’s world, it is hard to find out the people who do not require supervision. The concept of supervision starts from the feeling of distrust. 

 Trust cannot be unilateral as it has multi-dimensions viz. mental evolution of the trusting person, the nature & worthiness of the person to be trusted, external factors like circumstances & environment, limits or extent of trust, etc.The ever increasing self-centric nature of people has created trust – deficit in all walks of life. Parents are losing trust on their children; employers are losing trust on the employees; the public is losing the trust in the government; and many a times husband and wife are losing trust in each other. This has happened majorly due to the absence of thrust on character building process within the individual.

 No organisation can sustain if weakening in terms of trust on the management, employees, clients and other stakeholders. The relationship among all these is very delicate and crucial. But the trust in an organisational perspective is always calculated and within defined limits. Trust building amongst the employees and stakeholders is very important. Employees and stakeholders can take the organisation to the heights and also bring it down to the bottom. If employees lose trust on the management, they will simply become unproductive which finally paves the passage for their discontinuation. If the management loses trust in the employees, it tries to find the exclusion path. If stakeholders lose trust, this hampers the growth of the organisation drastically and contracts the horizon of the organisation.

As per our experiences in IIRD, we have noticed that as long as any employee trusts himself / herself, the association continuous and the moment one loses trust on one’s capacity in given role, the sufficient ground gets created automatically for departure. Without introspection, people start justifying themselves. There must be the lack of trust somewhere perhaps otherwise the people should have come up with the true feelings, introspection, request for getting mentoring support, capacity building, nurturing etc. This normally happens when people don’t get aligned with the organisational spirit and feel being alienated. We could not find even a single person approaching the management with the proposal to sacrifice part of the compensation because of non-achievement of defined targets when the management is ready to incentivise for good performance. The people having faith on themselves, not only contributed meaningfully to the organisation; but got multiple elevations within shortest time period also. 

This is the major challenge with every organisation to find the people of strong character & trustworthy. In fact, people first lose trust on themselves to have the courage to convert the environment conducive to them. Non-competence and non-compliance amongst employees are two major challenges nowadays.In order to get rid of the employees losing trust in themselves and thereby losing trust in the organisation, there is need of continuous mentoring and nurturing the people down the line. The routine workload sometimes causes neglect in mentoring. And the recruitment process sometimes brings untrustworthy people inside which causes multiple problems. The major challenges are to bring right people within the organisation and mentor them continuously.

: Social trust is very important for a vibrant democracy. The trust in social set up may help in identifying and selecting right people for giving leadership to the nation. People should have trust in the representative democracy and the representatives should also care sensitively for the aspirations of the people. Unfortunately in the party politics system, the representatives represent their political ethos rather than the aspirations of the electorates. No representative has been found taking ownership with accountability for the overall development of his / her constituency.

Trust is extremely important in relationships as every relation remain dry and formal without trust. The distrust in relationship sometimes diminishes the whole life of the people. Hence trust has always to be regarded as the pillar of relationships.Spirituality is the only means for creating culture of trust. India being the Guru of spirituality for the entire world since the time immemorial is the ideal nation to revive and promote culture of trust. The true spiritual person always cares for others selflessly recognising the spark of spirit in every one.

Trust in education is very very important. The students should have trust in what they are studying apart from the trust between teacher & students. More the trust between the teacher and the students, more the receptability amongst the students will be.The professional approach to be adopted in the life should start from creating faith in ourselves with positiveness, rational self analysis and benevolence. Selfless service to others gives internal strength. The fragrance of roses comes only from the hands which distribute roses. Understanding the real essence of Bhagvadgita, the philosophy of life beyond all religions, can also be helpful.