The NHS collectively is a huge organisation. Even more locally they are major employers, with significant income and expenditure. If teams of people are to perform to their potential, there is a need for high levels of trust.
We are all probably familiar with stories of clinical staff not trusting those in management or non clinical roles. At the same time a lack of trust can often arise between clinical teams and even within clinical staff in the same professions.
The absence of trust can often result in behaviours which might well seem in the interests of a particular group but are potentially detrimental to the wider organisation and service users.
So what can NHS organisations do to build trust across the organisation and even across wider health economies?
Be Open To Different Perspectives
Whether we like it or not, the reality is that different groups will have different deliverables or results to achieve. How people will look at issues and consider decisions will depend on their perspectives. Acknowledge this and accept that these different perspectives are actually valuable.
Learn To Listen
Most person specifications for roles in most organisations, including the NHS talk about the need for communication skills. For me, communication skills need to be broken down to their component parts, written, verbal and listening.
I am pretty sure the majority do a great job in the areas of written and verbal communication. On the other hand fewer do a great job when it comes to listening.
Remember we have two ears and one mouth. Learn to use them in correct proportion.
Be Transparent About How Decisions Are Reached
No one expects to get the outcome they want 100% of the time. However, people want to know how decisions are reached. Being transparent on your decision making process and then following this helps everyone to better understand the why behind decisions.
Make Sure Words and Actions Are Congruent
It is no good talking about the importance of quality, patient experience and patient safety and then acting in a way that is not consistent with what you say.
Always Think Patient and User
When people are under pressure, it is easy to lose sight of the patient or service users or relatives. We can easily take what is the norm for us as being the norm for patients or relatives.
Take A&E for example. At the moment there are reports of departments bursting at the seams, which is often the case. Yet from my own experiences it is often a simple lack of communication that causes concern. Sometimes it just takes someone to step back and take a few minutes to explain to patients and relatives what is happening.
The Reality: Building and maintaining trust in NHS organisations is never task and finish but an ongoing process that requires effort from every employee.
I would love to hear your views of good practice that has helped build trust and invite you to leave a comment.
Goals and Achievements help healthcare organisations deliver great service and performance through great leadership and team working. You can sign up for our free report 10 Management Mistakes That Impact On Performance In The NHS here