People work harder when they know their boss is trustworthy. Trust is essential to building employee engagement and motivation. And as noted by Jim Dougherty, senior lecturer at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, “managers will never learn the truth about a company unless they have their employees’ trust.”

So, how can you build trust as the bedrock of your team’s – and organization’s – success?

Create personal connections.

Get to know your employees and let them get to know you. They will support business goals and changes if they can view you as a fellow human instead of an immutable administrative force.

  • Listen to their feedback and give them the chance to be completely open with you.
  • Ask about their families, their interests or their weekend. Listen and share your own stories. Find common ground, whether it’s a hobby, a movie or a local sports team.

Communicate transparently.

Employees realize there is some information that you simply cannot share. But at the same time, they will know when you’re holding something back or worse yet, sharing it with some people but not others. Disclose as much as you can regarding company plans and future direction. Any voids will likely be filled with rumors and negative misinformation.

Have the integrity to tell the truth, even if it makes you the bearer of bad news.

  • Don’t play favorites. This is a surefire way to undermine trust.
  • Avoid badmouthing anyone. This sends the signal that your public and private personas diverge.

Empower people.

People will trust you if you trust them. When your employees feel they are empowered and that company goals are aligned with their own, they will work harder and smarter.

  • Delegate and give employees as much autonomy as possible. At the same time, make it clear what your expectations are and how performance will be measured.

Share the credit and shoulder the blame.

Reinforce the fact that everyone is working toward shared goals. Instead of casting blame, put it back upon yourself when things go wrong. This shows that you don’t believe different rules apply to you than to your employees.

  • If your team fails, it’s your fault. This is a basic tenet of good leadership. If you call out individual employees for department or company-wide failures, you will quickly lose credibility. Show your people that you are completely aware of your errors and that you regret them.
  • Admit when you’re wrong. In a recent Forum study, 50 percent of employees said their bosses never apologized for their mistakes, while only 5 percent said they did.

Show your competence.

If you are not good at your job, you can forget about earning or maintaining employee trust. Even if everyone really likes you, you still must be competent in order to be trusted.

  • Regularly update your skills and follow through on your commitments.
  • Avoid trying to be an expert on everything. Those in the know will immediately spot fake expertise. Have the humility to ask questions and express an ongoing eagerness to learn.

As you build leadership skills and foster employee trust, turn to the workforce development experts at Pridestaff Fresno to steer you in the right direction. In addition to helping you source and retain top talent, we can partner with you to best develop skills and success among your leadership team. Contact us today for more information.

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