Trust in the workplace is of paramount importance to ensure that teams can collaborate, employees are productive, and functions are able to carry out daily business affairs smoothly. When considering the relationship between managers and employees, the quality of the relationship can be summed up in one question – do you trust your leader? Are you willing to put the future of your role into their hands? Do you think they are capable enough?
Trust and leadership go together, but finding a balance between the two is key. You can trust your leader, but leadership doesn’t automatically come with a trust clause. For a leader, trust has to be earned, it’s a lot like respect in that way. You may like your leader, but trusting them is a whole different ball game.
When employees trust their leader, it results in a more motivated unit, which leads to higher levels of engagement in the long run, along with higher productivity. One excellent way of building trust is to allow employees to understand how their work contributes to the bigger picture. By instilling the idea of a ‘common future’, leaders can help employees see the bigger picture to work together in a collaborative way.
Let’s look at a few reasons why building trust is important, and then we’ll understand 4 tried and tested ways for leaders to build trust among their employees.
Why Trust Building Is Important
- Trust helps a company become more transparent. It helps remove layers and hierarchies to help employees and leaders sit down at the same proverbial table working towards the company’s objectives
- Trust motivates your team
- It helps your employees become more productive so that they are willing to do what it takes and put in the work required to keep their stakeholders satisfied
- Trust helps your employees share their feedback openly with you since they trust that you understand that they have the company’s best interests at heart
- Trust helps your employees accept constructive feedback. Even if slightly negative feedback is shared with them, they understand that you mean the best for them, and hence, are willing to accept and learn from what you say
- Trust helps keep the team together and working collaboratively
- Trust helps build a common future for the company
Building trust can make or break all other efforts to keep a team together or to keep stakeholders happy. It’s actually such a simple concept, but so crucial for organizational success.
Are you ready to hear a resounding “YES” when you ask your employees the seemingly simple question – Do you trust your leader?
If so, try out these 4 tried and tested ways which leaders can use to build trust among their employees.
How Leaders Can Build Trust
- Share Your Expertise
Employees love learning from people they can look up to. For example, will a business analyst want his colleagues to teach them how to do their job? No! They’ll want guidance from their manager, or their leader, the person they can look up to. And who better than the person who has learned the ropes by themselves, right from the beginning!
Learning from someone who has come up from the grassroots level always instills a sense of confidence in the employee because they can trust your expertise. They know you’ve been through it all and seen it all in your time, and they bank on this.
- Keep Your Promises
Follow through on all the promises you make. This is as true in the workplace, as it is in life. Employees have their personal lives as well, their own responsibilities. For example, if a to-be father comes to you, asking for a possible pay hike during appraisal season, don’t turn him down due to budgetary constraints (one of the most common excuses in any company). Give it some thought. If it is possible, go ahead with it and give the man a hike which goes with his role, and which is feasible for your company.
If your employee wants some different development opportunities and you promise to look into it, give it a shot. If you ask your team for feedback, act on it. Don’t leave it like yet another common survey – overhyped and untouched.
Promising something and not delivering, or delivering something else altogether gives your employees the impression that you can’t be trusted, so focus on keeping your promises as a leader.
- Trust Builds Trust
It is said that if you want respect, you must first give respect. The same thing goes with trust. If you want to be trusted, you have to be willing to trust. This means that once your employee learns the ropes, trust that they can create a presentation for a client with minimal review. Trust that they can talk to prospective customers and don’t interfere in that conversation.
Trust builds trust – and micromanagement hurts everybody. Firstly, it gives you a lot of double work to do, it stresses you out because you have to keep checking the work, and it also gives your employee the impression that you don’t trust them.
It eventually comes down to your faith in your abilities. If you think you’ve done a good job in training them, why worry?
- Talk To Them
Your employees may be resources for the rest of your company, but they are people too- with feelings, thoughts, and emotions. Take time out to get to know each employee – pick one employee a week, and try to get-to-know them better. Try to understand how they think, how they work, what makes them feel good at work, and what hinders their performance.
Direct managers are the best at this since they work the most with their employees, so they know them better. However, not too many managers are willing to invest their time and effort in getting to know their employees better – especially if they don’t like them.
Don’t let bias come in your way of interacting with your employees. If you show them that you value them as people, they’ll automatically come to trust you more.
It takes a lot of time to build trust and respect in any relationship – and the employer-employee relationship is no different. One misstep from either side can cause an entire function to crumble and can make it difficult for other employees to do their jobs. Remember – as a leader, even if you lead a team of 2 people, it is your job to get the team together and enable them to think like an integrated unit. In the end, every successful employer-employee equation, every deliverable from an employee, every team meeting, every conversation with your manager is impacted by the answer to this most fundamental question – Do you trust your leader?