Knowing is key to making decisions. Knowing is the foundation of the trust you need to build trust with others.
Thinking you know; Knowing; knowing you know. There is a difference. This difference determines how and when you make decisions that lead your organization. Your knowledge of these differences is the foundation of trust in leading employees.
Thinking you know, can lead to problems. At the Ramada Inn South restaurant the cooks placed a list on a cork board of items they needed for food preparation. On day, “chicken” was on the list. I knew where we got chicken. I phoned the supplier. I told the shipping clerk to send me some chicken. He said what size. Damn, I did not know they came in sizes. I, of course, did not want to appear stupid and replied with an air of confidence, “Oh, send me some pretty good size ones”.
The next day, I came into the kitchen and Flossie, the lunch cook, asked did I get the chicken. I said, “Yes.” She said,” Where are they?” I replied,” they are in the cooler”. She said she looked there and could not find them. I said come with me. I opened the cooler and opened the lid on the box and there was chicken. She looked down into the box and said,” Lordly mercy, Mr. Jim, you knows them’s hens”.
I asked her what she meant. She said she needed fryers. She told me fryers are 2-2 ¾ pound chickens. I drove to the supplier to get the fryers.
Thinking you know, is not knowing; and knowing is not enough. You may know you know; but, you are not confident enough to risk a big decision on your knowledge. You must build that confidence. This can be risky. A company trained me on how to hand crank a regulator on a substation power transformer when the motor failed. This is very risky process. If not done correctly you can burn up the regular. But knowing, I took the risk and being trained my attempt was successful. The next time I knew, I knew, I could do it. Knowing is not the same as knowing you know. I was with a lineman the next time I found a bad regular motor. I asked him, “Do you know how to hand crank a regular.” He said, “No.” I said this is what we are going to do. I taught him how to perform the task. He knew I was making a decision he could not make. When you know you know the confidence you show allows your fellow employees to trust and follow you. Knowing you know is critical in moments of crisis for your department; because, your employees trust your decisions.
One caveat, if you do not know; do not do. This is the quickest way for employees to lose trust in you. In critical moments, if you do not know it is your responsibility to know enough to stop the decision making process. It is also your responsibility to know who to contact with the knowledge you need. This kind of decision will build trust in the employees you lead.
Today’s world requires you to constantly keep up with technological advances. You will find yourself falling back to a lower level of knowledge if you do not study and experiment with new knowledge. Employee trust is built on a first line manager’s ability to make effective decisions. Effective decisions are based on your knowledge of your business and operation.