One of the most important tasks that all leaders and managers must accomplish is building trust with employees. Trust allows employees to have confidence in management’s decisions and to follow their leader’s influence. While building trust does take hard work, conscious effort and consistent values and behaviors, it is extremely crucial to a leader’s ability to inspire, motivate, and succeed. Use these seven tips to establish employee trust.
Share Your Name, Not Title – When first introducing yourself to employees, lead with your name rather than your title. Get to know the employee as an individual and look for ways to connect personally. In doing so, manager’s convey that they are a person first, manager second.
Listen Effectively – An excellent way to establish trust with employees is by asking questions about the workplace, and then effectively listen to what the employee has to say. All people know when they aren’t being listened to or heard, so managers should maintain eye contact and respond accordingly to what is being said. This technique allows leaders to get past office small talk to reach a more meaningful conversation. After listening, follow up in a way that reinforces support for employees voices and ideas.
Save Surprises for Birthdays – No one enjoys being surprised with reviews or anything serious. Rather than catching employees off-guard with criticism, schedules or company health, remain open and direct with employees. Through cultivating a pattern of regular communication, leaders will be seen as more reliable and trustworthy.
Take Blame, Give Credit – As management, and as a leader, the number one priority is the success of all employees. As the old saying goes, if the team fails, it’s management’s fault; if the team succeeds, its the team’s achievement. A good leader takes a little more than their share of the blame and a little less than their share of the credit. A manager is only successful when their team is successful.
Share Knowledge – Sharing knowledge with employees does far more than it may at first seem. Not only does sharing knowledge increase employee knowledge, but it also increases employees’ trust in management’s understanding of the industry. Once a manager has established their proficiency and technical competencies, employees will feel more comfortable asking questions and more open to accepting decisions and feedback.
Don’t Have All The Answers – You’ve established your expertise, now allow employees to learn and grow. Rather than immediately providing the answers, be inquisitive and ask questions that could lead employees to find the solution themselves. This allows employees to learn and develop while building their trust in their leader.
Be Honest and Supportive – It is essential to offer complete honesty and support. Although it is valuable to be considerate of employees’ effort and feelings, trust cannot be built if a manager is unable to be understanding as well as upfront and honest. Showing support while offering constructive criticism goes a long way toward building trust as a leader and improving employee success.