12 Ways Managers Can Establish A Trusting Relationship With Employees
If an employee doesn't trust their manager, the company suffers. Sure, ruling through fear works, but the employee will do the bare minimum amount of work needed to keep their job. Smart leaders know that engaged workers bring creativity and passion to their work, which means more minds seeking more solutions to problems or streamlining processes.
All of this is deeply important to beating out the competition, not to mention employee retention: Good employees won't stay at a dissatisfactory job unless they feel like they lack options.
So how can managers establish a relationship of trust with their employees?
1. Employee Trust Must Be Earned
There are many things that managers can do to establish trust with their employees, which include being open and honest about changes that will impact them; effectively communicating by talking to them, not at them; having an open-door policy, and then following up; and being willing to pitch in to help. Sometimes the smallest gesture of kindness goes a long way, such as taking them to lunch. -
2. Tell Them Your Name, Not Your Title
Depending on the industry, and probably company, you may be compared or labeled as a "manager." Let your people know that you are a person first and a manager second. Act accordingly. Focus on the human being that is in front of you, get to know them and look for opportunities to say "yes" to them more often.
3. Ask Your Employees What's Most Important To Them
the most overlooked strategy for building trusting relationships is the most simple. Ask! Inquire what is most important to your employees for building trust, ask how they prefer to be recognized, find out how they like to receive feedback and prefer to communicate. Acknowledging and acting upon their preferences will build trust.
4. Listen Effectively
Managers establish trust by asking effective questions, then by actually listening to employees' answers. The technique of "drilling" down with questions can take a surface-level conversation to a meaningful dialogue. Following up with action in a manner that supports employees' ideas and concerns reinforces that the manager listened.
5. Save Surprises For Birthdays
Employees typically do not like surprise reviews, news or anything serious in nature from managers. Managers can build trust with employees with regular communication, scheduled updates regarding work performance, and by being transparent about the health of the organization. When an employee knows they can rely on their manager for the truth, it can be motivating and help build trust.
6. Offer Your Own Trust First
As Ernest Hemingway said, "The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them." If you want your employees to trust you, try trusting them first. Give them a task, even an easy one, and let them complete it on their own. This simple gesture will go a very long way. If your employees believe you will have their back, they will run through walls for you.
7. Be Respectful To Each Other
The simplest path to increased trust is respect. It’s a respectful recognition of accomplishments and transparency around failure. It’s a connection between leaders and teams. It doesn’t cost anything to buy — but each side needs to make time for it. Practicing daily respect habits like "listen and care, make eye contact, and acknowledge your flaws" will drive engagement, and ultimately performance.
8. Show Them You Aren't Afraid Of Failure
Every employee is a threat to an insecure leader. Any mistake or struggle in performance will make the leader look bad, so every employee is seen as a threat. This drives selfish, bad behavior and creates an unsafe place for the team. Trust only happens in a fear-free environment. Every leader needs to work on their own fear issues, so they can focus on building the team instead of their ego.
9. Lead With Integrity
You can demonstrate you are trustworthy as a leader by keeping your word with your employees. Let them see your integrity. Say what you'll do, and then do what you say. Show them you are leading in alignment with the values of the organization. Reward others who act with integrity. Give trust and ask for their trust in return. Be trustworthy and honorable, and communicate that you expect the same.
10. Let Them Manage Some Tasks
Offer freedom by no longer micromanaging them. Provide the opportunity to manage their own activities. Allow them to lead the end of month performance review sessions, and ask them to evaluate themselves and modify their KPIs. This behavior creates leaders within your organization organically and develops a sense of personal accountability, which results in a relationship of trust.
11. Build People Up In Any Situation
Your team members' personal lives matter, and bad times at home can often affect performance at work. Effective managers prioritize taking a genuine interest in their employees and providing support during rough patches. In the same way, when times are good, managers should celebrate victories with the whole team. Build people up in any situation and you’ll foster a deep level of trust.
12. Don't Have All Of The Answers, Even If You Do
Whom do you trust? Typically, it's someone who allows you to be you and who encourages you to continuously grow, learn — usually by making mistakes — and develop. So be inquisitive and ask lots and lots of questions rather than supplying answers, even — especially — when you know the answer. For a great articulation of the power of this approach, read L. David Marquet's Turn the Ship Around .
Source: Forbes Coaches Council