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Trump’s twisted logic would destroy your business

Dangerous culture of mistrust can destroy far more than just organizations

By Todd Humber

I woke up this morning feeling grateful Justin Trudeau is my prime minister and Donald Trump is not leading any polls in my country.

If you’ve been anywhere the news in the last 24 hours, you’ll have heard that Trump — running for president in the United States as a Republican — has called for the U.S. border to be closed to all Muslims. He has proposed a complete shutdown — “until our country’s representatives can figure out what’s going on.”

Contrast that to Trudeau, who has pledged to bring tens of thousands of refugees from Syria to Canada to help alleviate one of the worst refugee situations I have seen in my life.

For me, this all comes down to trust. Trump is essentially screaming — “I don’t trust muslims.” That really translates into I don’t trust fellow human beings, neighbours, businesspeople and whatnot simply because of their religion.

That’s not a way I can live my life. It’s too paralyzing, it’s too fearful.

We know that, in the workplace, a lack of trust can be disastrous. On the job, trust is one of the biggest single drivers of engagement. Do you trust your employees? And, more importantly, do your employees trust you as a leader?

If you put your trust in the hands of employees, they can do great things. These professionals are on your payroll for a reason, and if you micromanage them and don’t give them the authority and freedom to do their jobs, they are not going to produce as well. They will be autocratic clock-punchers.

But give them the freedom and the tools to do their jobs, and great things will happen.

The same logic applies to citizens. If leaders are telling an entire segment of the population “I don’t trust you” simply because of religion, ethnicity, gender or whatnot, it’s demoralizing. It detaches them, makes them think they are different and are somehow no longer welcome in their own country.

That accomplishes nothing, other than feeding a culture of mistrust. That culture can — and has — destroyed organizations. It can also do the same to a nation.

The recent terror attacks in Paris, London and California have been horrific. They call for a strong reaction — but it has to be a level-headed one, based on facts.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: People are generally good. Yes, there are idiots out there. But they’re in extreme minority. We can never forget that, both inside and outside the workplace.

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Todd Humber

Todd Humber is the publisher and editor-in-chief of Canadian HR Reporter, the national journal of human resource management. Follow him on Twitter @ToddHumber
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