All of us have seen or heard of situations in which an agent (e.g., an employee) abuses the trust of his principal (e.g., the employer). Business theorists refer to this as an “agency problem,” the conflict of interest that exists when an agent looks out for his own interests above (and to the detriment of) the interests of his principal.
One of my mentors, a finance executive, once explained that he tried to manage the company’s money “as if it were my own.” He set a good example: Just as he would watch his own finances with eagle eyes, he paid careful attention to his employer’s money. By demonstrating a pattern of due professional care, he clearly demonstrated that he took his fiduciary responsibility seriously.
The best way to gain your employer’s trust starts with your own mindset: Treat your employer’s resources as if they were your own.
Your employer will trust you if you demonstrate a pattern of careful analysis and decision-making. You must exercise due diligence in small as well as large areas. Wisely manage resources that have been entrusted to you and areas of oversight that have been delegated to you.
Your ability to negotiate for a better stake in the future of the enterprise will be enhanced if you prove that you have the organization’s best interests at heart, not just your own best interests.