Without trust, you don't have a team. Read the article to learn some good trust-building techniques.
Trust is a word that gets bandied about quite a lot and that’s often because it’s important.
Without trust you can’t have a positive relationship with your team. It’s also vital in creating retention and loyalty. Compared with people at low-trust companies, people at high-trust companies report 74% less stress, 106% more energy at work, 50% higher productivity, 13% fewer sick days, 76% more engagement, 29% more satisfaction with their lives, 40% less burnout1.
Here’s some pointers on how to build trust in your team:
Being able to admit when you don't know something is a great way to help build trust in your team. Showing your team your vulnerability will encourage them to do the same. It also demonstrates that you’re open to learning and improving and are not too rigid.
Asking for the input of others also helps build a more collaborative culture, one where employees feel like their input is valued and taken seriously. This in turn builds more trust too.
When speaking to your team, do so clearly and directly. Think about steering away from jargon and using simple terms to get your point across. An effective leader is one who can take complex scenarios and use simple analogies to make a point understood. If employees walk away from a conversation feeling baffled then they’re unlikely to feel trust in your ability to get things done. They are also less able to perform their role effectively.
Don’t hide challenges that are coming up. Ask for input and solutions. This makes the problem feel like a collective problem and builds a sense of a team that isn’t too hierarchical. Everyone can contribute and this is the culture you want to build long term.
This sharing also engenders trust and leads the team to better respect their manager because they feel like there isn’t information being held back (it also stops people from gossiping, which is another barrier to trust as false information is spread around in the absence of facts). Think, too, about how you respond when an employee comes up with an idea. Even if it is off-base, give it air time and respond in a thoughtful way. It may be that their idea isn’t the right one but you want them to feel encouraged and not demotivated.
It’s an obvious point but we tend to trust people more if they show appreciation for our hard work. Make sure you give regular constructive feedback to your team and also give individuals a shout out in public meetings. There is nothing more demoralising than thinking that your efforts are going unnoticed.
We work in a fast paced culture and it can be a challenge to remember what precisely each team member has done so make a note when you’re having 1:1 meetings and keep a list so you can praise each person when you talk to them. Also remember that a call has more impact so if you have time make an effort to ring them to say 'thank you.'
If you have different teams who tend to work on separate challenges, then encourage teams to present to one another. This creates more of a collaborative feel to the culture and also helps make employees feel included when one team achieves something important. Take every opportunity to demystify what each team does so it doesn’t feel like everyone is working in their own individual silo (which doesn’t engender a sense of trust or build connections across the company).
It’s also important that you don’t have ‘favourites’ and that you treat everyone fairly. So make sure that everyone gets airtime and be sensitive to the fact that some people are more extroverted and comfortable talking in public. It’s your responsibility to ensure you create as inclusive an environment as possible. If someone doesn’t speak up then speak up for them so everyone recognises their input.
Finally, it’s important to deliver on your promises. If you say you’re going to have a progress meeting with someone each week then make sure you keep that promise. If someone asks for support on a project, make sure you find resource. If they don’t get on with a particular team member then be mindful of putting them on a project where they have to work together again. Good leaders do what they say they will and this makes their employees trust them.
Ultimately, if we don’t trust the people who manage us then we don’t do our best work and we rapidly begin to disengage. Using these simple tactics you will build trust and quickly see how this impacts on company culture, productivity and engagement.