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Lack of Trust — What Does It Do to Your Company? Here's What Leaders Need to Know. Here's what modern business leaders need to know about trust and how to foster transparency in the current landscape.

By Greg Davis

Key Takeaways

  • Trust within an organization boosts employee retention, fosters a positive workplace culture, safeguards intellectual property and facilitates effective succession planning.
  • The decline in company performance due to a lack of trust can affect quality, productivity and overall growth, making trust pivotal for scaling success.
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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Trust is the cornerstone of any successful organization, especially when it comes to scaling up. A lack of trust within a company can lead to numerous challenges, undermining the organization's potential for growth. It not only affects the internal dynamics but also has far-reaching implications on how the company is perceived externally. Understanding these implications is crucial for businesses aiming to grow and thrive in today's competitive market.

What do modern business leaders need to know about trust and how to foster transparency in the current landscape?

Related: Trust Should Be the Foundation of Your Business — Here's How to Earn It.

1. Turnover will be an ever-present issue

High turnover rates are often a direct consequence of a lack of trust within a company. Employees who do not trust their leadership or feel undervalued are more likely to seek opportunities elsewhere. This turnover not only disrupts the workflow but also incurs significant costs in terms of recruiting and training new staff. Furthermore, frequent personnel changes can lead to a loss of institutional knowledge and negatively impact team dynamics.

In addition, high turnover can create a negative reputation for the company in the job market. Prospective talents might be deterred from joining an organization known for its high employee turnover. This can create a vicious cycle where the best talents are lost to competitors, further hampering the company's ability to scale. Establishing trust is crucial to maintaining a stable and committed workforce.

2. The loss of intellectual property will be detrimental

A lack of trust can lead to the loss of valuable intellectual property (IP). Employees who don't feel valued or trusted might not take the necessary precautions to safeguard sensitive information. This can result in leaks of proprietary data, harming the company's competitive edge. In addition, distrust can lead to a lack of open collaboration, which is essential for innovation.

In scenarios where employees leave the company due to distrust, there's a risk they might take their knowledge or even trade secrets with them. This not only affects the company's current projects but also its future endeavors. Protecting IP is fundamental for companies, especially in high-tech and creative industries, and trust plays a pivotal role in this protection. Hence, fostering a culture of trust is essential to safeguard a company's intellectual assets.

3. A lack of succession planning is a red flag

In companies without trust, succession planning becomes a significant challenge. Without trust, leadership might hesitate to delegate responsibilities or groom future leaders, fearing for their position or the misuse of power. This lack of succession planning can lead to chaos when key personnel leave or retire, hindering the company's stability and growth.

In addition, a clear succession plan is a sign of a healthy, forward-thinking organization. The absence of such planning can demotivate ambitious employees who see no clear path to advancement within the company. This can further exacerbate turnover issues and prevent the company from developing strong leaders from within, which is crucial for long-term sustainability and scaling.

Related: 5 Ways to Build a Culture of Transparency

4. Lack of transparency will cripple growth

When trust is lacking, transparency in communicating the company's goals and strategies becomes a major casualty. Employees who are not privy to the company's vision or direction can feel disconnected and unmotivated. This lack of alignment between employee efforts and company goals can lead to inefficiency and a waste of resources.

In the absence of transparency, rumors and misinformation can flourish, leading to confusion and mistrust among staff. It becomes challenging for employees to align their individual goals with those of the company, which is essential for a cohesive and productive work environment. A transparent culture, fostered by trust, is key to ensuring that everyone is working towards a common goal, thus facilitating scaling and growth.

5. Quality, performance and productivity will decline

A workplace lacking in trust is often characterized by decreased quality, performance and productivity. Employees who do not trust their leaders or colleagues may not feel compelled to put forth their best effort, leading to subpar work. This decline in quality can be detrimental to the company's reputation and customer satisfaction.

Furthermore, distrust can lead to excessive micromanagement, stifling employee creativity and initiative. This environment hampers innovation and can slow down processes, further affecting productivity. Companies striving for growth must recognize the importance of trust in enhancing performance and maintaining high standards of quality.

Related: You Can't Lead Effectively Without Trust

In the end, the importance of trust in a company's growth trajectory cannot be overstated. It is a vital ingredient for fostering a positive workplace culture, ensuring employee retention, protecting intellectual property and facilitating effective succession planning.

Companies that prioritize trust and transparency will find themselves better positioned to navigate the complexities of scaling in the modern business world. Thus, building and maintaining trust should be a key strategic goal for any organization looking to scale successfully. Business leaders should not hesitate to reach out to experts who can help ensure a culture of trust.

Greg Davis

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

CEO of Bigleaf Networks

Greg Davis is the CEO of Bigleaf Networks, with a record of scaling businesses through revenue growth, operations, and strategic acquisitions. He has 25+ years of tech leadership, leading start-ups to $100M+ in annual revenue. He has been on the board of directors for Bigleaf Networks since 2020.

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