Trust may be one of the most valuable commodities in your business. A team that trusts each other and their boss is a team that will work harder and happier to achieve great things. Cut corners where you will, but when it comes to people you need to invest. Not just money, but time and care. A whopping 93% of employees believe that trusting their leaders is essential to work satisfaction. And a satisfied team makes your business more money. So how to go about developing that trust?
Trust works both ways
Trust is most effective when it’s mutual. When you show trust in your employees, they will feel that you’ve taken their feelings and identities into consideration. To work together requires a sense of collaboration. When you just pass tasks along with little consideration, you risk alienating your crew.
To build trust, try to be as open as possible with your team about every aspect of your business. Involve them in decisions, and show them how you work and why you do things the way you do. This has the important advantage that it removes uncertainty from your employees’ daily tasks.
“[U]ncertainty about the company’s direction leads to chronic stress, writes Paul J. Zak, founding director of the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies, “which inhibits the release of oxytocin and undermines teamwork“.
“Openness is the antidote”.
Part of showing your trust is to listen carefully. And again, your team will learn to trust and respect you if they know you have their interests at heart. Asking open-ended questions can begin an open and creative dialogue.
This listening occurs in daily interactions, but it also refers to how you treat your colleagues in the bigger picture. For example, letting them know that you’ve noticed when they’ve done something particularly smart or effective.
And listen not just to what they say and do, but what they feel. If you see somebody is raring to have a bit more responsibility, and you know they’re capable, reach out to them and delegate some of your own important tasks. Or hold regular sessions to observe and redistribute the workload. Discuss or use feedback forms to give folk a chance to express what work they believe they’re good at, and what they would like to do.
It may sound obvious, but one of the simplest ways to build trust is by being honest. That starts with being open about your business practices as discussed above. But it should refer through to all areas of your workplace.
Being honest isn’t always easy, and it isn’t always pleasant. But a healthy and considerate conflict is more productive than simmering resentment and distrust.
To be a trustworthy boss doesn’t require you to be a tyrant. However, bottling things up or sweeping them under the carpet will damage your relationships and your business. Equally, make promises you can’t keep will lose you trust.
A boss “whose behavior can be reliably predicted will be seen as more trustworthy,” says Robert F. Hurley, professor of management at Fordham University in New York. “One whose behavior is erratic will be met with suspicion“.
“Here the issue of integrity comes into play – that is, doing what you say you will do. Trustees who say one thing but do another lack integrity.”
To begin building that trust, take a long hard look at this infographic from The Business Backer