Working for Skyrise – an Environment of Mutual Trust
Work takes up a significant part of our lives, so it’s only fair that we expect it to be more than just a source of income. At Skyrise we do our best to make our work environment enjoyable, and while we have already shared insight into our weekly routines and continuous learning atmosphere, there are some elements of our company’s culture that we feel are more personal and we would like to share them with you in this series.
In case you aren’t familiar with us, here are a few facts about our company. Skyrise has two branches located in Poland, one in the South of Poland in Katowice, and one in the North in Gdańsk. These two locations give our employees a lot of options when it comes to their leisure time, as Katowice is located close to the Silesian Beskid mountains, and our office in Gdańsk is just a few kilometers from the Baltic coast. We also have an office in the picturesque city of Bergen, Norway.
Many of the characteristics of the inner workings of our company result from the fact that we are a growing company, but not a corporation. While there’s nothing wrong with corporate culture, this is not something that we plan on implementing in Skyrise. Instead, we place emphasis on a flat construction of our company and a culture of mutual trust. I recently sat down with our Technical Project Manager, Tomasz, to learn about his experience with trust, both inside and outside of Skyrise.
Hanna: I’d like to talk to you today about the importance of trust. Could you tell me a bit about your past experiences with trust issues?
Tomasz: Of course, I would like to tell you about a situation that surprised me a few weeks ago. I was attending a training event organized by one of the Agile groups. There were five teams that were given an assignment with several stages. During these exercises, the team members were supposed to make some decisions based on what the organizers asked us to do. In one of the stages we were told to try to imagine that our boss had come and told us to leave all the other tasks and only concentrate on task number 10, because it’s really important for the whole company, but he couldn’t tell us why. Our team was the only one to actually follow these directions, and we focused all our efforts on task number 10. The rest of the teams ignored what the “boss” told them to do and continued doing the other tasks. When we were finished, we got feedback from the organizer of the assignment. Surprisingly, he told us that the boss’ request was a trick question, and we weren’t actually supposed to do what he said. This exercise was supposed to teach us that we should have in fact done what was planned instead of reacting to the boss’ request. Sometimes, the boss might have some personal goals that aren’t the best for the company. The rest of the teams agreed that this was true, and it happens all the time. I was really surprised, because in our company it’s totally different.
Hanna: What do you mean by that?
Tomasz: I feel that we should trust our bosses and managers; we should support them. Having power is also a responsibility, and I’m convinced that our boss Jarek understands this. If he asks us to do something or change something, he knows why and he knows what the results or side effects could be. I found it really surprising that people who should build a culture of trust in a company do not trust their managers, and the person who organized the exercise was trying to show us that we shouldn’t trust our supervisors. Something inside me felt that this was really wrong, and it shouldn’t be this way. Of course, there are good managers and there are bad managers and situations like this happen, but we should not empower such behavior. We should trust our managers. We should do what they ask us to do, while on the other hand the manager should be aware of this, and he should keep in mind the potential results that his decision could lead to. The manager should take into consideration that his decisions can affect the whole team, so if the manager asks the team to leave some other tasks and concentrate on one thing, there really needs to be a good reason for this. I believe this is the way it works in Skyrise.
Hanna: Do you think that trust needs to work both ways? If you trust your manager, he should also be able to trust you?
Tomasz: Sure, it is not possible to trust one way. It’s a relationship where both sides are responsible and need to take care of this cooperation. I believe that people cannot cooperate efficiently if they cannot trust each other. I trust my manager that he has a good reason to make certain decisions, even if I don’t like them, but on the other hand he should listen and believe me if I tell him that it’s not a good idea and I think we should do something differently.
Hanna: How does an atmosphere of trust change the general atmosphere of a company?
Tomasz: I think if people trust each other they can give constructive feedback and improve the whole company. They are not even afraid to give negative feedback, because if they trust each other, they know that it is for the good of the company. The second thing is why should I hire experts, if I don’t trust their knowledge? Everyone has some field of expertise and we should trust their experience and opinions. Even if we think that we know better, we need to trust each other. It’s an important element of teamwork in a company. But trust also has a lot to do with relations between people. You cannot be friends with someone who you don’t trust. You won’t like to cooperate or have fun with people that you don’t trust, and this is really important in our company. We don’t only work together, but we really like each other. This is an essential part of our culture and the spirit of this company.
Hanna: Thank you very much!
I was very happy to hear Tomasz’s story and his perspective on the significance of trust in the workplace. I think the points he made are really insightful and important to keep in mind. Personally, I’m proud to work for a company that supports a culture of mutual trust, especially in a fast-paced modern world where values like this are easy to forget.
Feel free to share your experiences with trust in the comments below, and stay tuned for the next segment of this series where I will look into what it’s like to work for Skyrise from a female perspective!