As a manager, your employees should have high levels of trust in you in order to work together as successfully as possible. Whether you’re trying to build up trust within a new team, re-building trust after previous issues or simply striving to maintain current trust levels, these four steps will ensure that you’re doing all you can.
Honesty is an essential part of building and maintaining trust, however you should always be mindful of the impact your honesty may have on your team. If you find yourself in the position where you need to discuss an issue with an employee, an honest and open conversation is necessary. Be aware of how your comments, and possibly criticism, may affect their confidence or their relationship with other members of the team. Use sensitivity and constructive criticism in your dialogue with them, and emphasize the positive views of the honest feedback that you are giving them.
Listening is a very important factor in maintaining trust, and you should ensure that your employees know from experience that they can come to you with any issues they may have, be it work related or personal. By using active listening, focusing on the person speaking, absorbing what they are saying, and repeating your interpretation of what they are saying, trust can be built and relationships strengthened. Try to ensure that your employees recognize that you are not only listening to them, but that you are hearing what they are saying, by acting on their concerns/observations where appropriate.
Encourage Responsibility and Accountability
Giving your employees responsibility and accountability is a great way to strengthen trust with you. Try giving a team member control over a specific project that includes either external or internal customers. The employee may be eager to take on extra responsibility! Be mindful though, they still may require a lot of support and guidance. For a confidence boost, remind them that this is their project and that you are confident in their ability to communicate and make the right judgments. By giving employees that level of responsibility and accountability, they will be aware of the trust you have in them, which will increase their trust in you. Having faith and confidence within your team is a crucial part of increasing trust!
Confidentiality is very important in building and maintaining trust within a team, as it encourages honesty and communication. A manager who is unable to keep a confidence shared by a member of their team not only appears unprofessional, but also runs the risk of losing the trust and respect of both the person whose confidence has been broken and anyone else who may hear of it. By dealing with your team’s concerns in a confidential way, they will be more likely to trust you if they have any private issues they wish to discuss with you in the future. This also works on a personal level. If you have members of your team who confide in you about personal issues, you should deal with them respectfully and privately. They will be encouraged to discuss issues that are more serious with you, safe in the knowledge that it will go no further.