Trust in the Workplace: 6 Steps to Building Trust with Employees
The Importance of Building Trust in the Workplace
Trust is the core foundation of any relationship, be it social or professional. Trust in the work setting is vital for the organization’s culture and success. Without it, people will easily feel disengaged and discouraged, and this could mean disaster for any organization. With that said, building trust in the workplace means bringing a culture of honesty, respect, and a sense of psychological security for everyone. It helps people, regardless of their position in the company, feel safe and happy about their roles in the organization.
However, trustworthiness does not happen overnight. Rather, it’s a long and continuous process that needs everyone to be involved. As a leader, it is your job to cultivate this kind of culture in your workplace, from all levels and across all departments. But how do you do this?
Tips for Building Trust in the Workplace
Here are some key points you need for building trust in the workplace.
Listen More Than You Speak
Understand that each employee is a unique individual who has his own idea and opinion. They have their own expertise and experience that they bring to the table.
When communicating, listen actively to what they have to say. This shows you are fully connected and interested in understanding their situation or opinion before reacting or answering. Active listening will leave you with a happier relationship with everyone in the workplace.
Thus, it is important that you instill this trait to each member of your company.
You can improve your communication skills by engaging in active listening training. This includes making a deliberate effort to ask each member of your team to speak their mind and encourage them to elaborate on what they have to say. Listen to both positive and negative feedback, and show them you are open to their feedback whether you agree with them or not.
Empower your team with trust
This may sound like a no-brainer, but many managers fail to take this first step. Showing your employees that you trust them is a huge deal – pretty empowering. And in most cases, they will reciprocate it.
You can do this by giving them autonomy on tasks and projects that you have given them.
You can also give them extra responsibilities.
Also, you can encourage growth through professional development. One good example of this is to invite them to be part of important meetings that they wouldn’t normally attend. Say for instance you need help in your marketing and sales plans. It would be wise to take a sales rep with on-the-ground experience to the meeting and ask him/her for his insights. This person will remember your gesture and you may benefit from their experience.
If your team often suffers from poor work quality, missed deadlines, repetitive errors, and lack of trust, then that is a sign of accountability problems within the team.
Remember that there will be no top-class management without accountability. Thus, the success of your team and the trust within each member of the team depends on the leaders being accountable for themselves and cultivating accountability with the team.
Remember, trust is earned not given. Thus, building trust in the workplace means leaders must acknowledge their shortcomings as well. This will encourage employees to follow your lead. Walk the talk.
Inspire with authentic leadership
A boss manages employees and tells them what to do. A leader, on the other hand, teaches employees why and how to do things, inspires, trusts, and values employees. Do not be a boss. Be a leader.
Authentic leadership cultivates trust and improves employees’ performance and engagement. A good way to lead your employees is to coach them. This means providing training, encouragement and support, especially when they are struggling. Offer words of appreciation on a daily basis too, especially for those who are excelling at their jobs.
Provide balanced autonomy
Surely, you do not want to be controlled or told what to do at every step of the way in your assigned tasks or responsibilities. Neither do your employees.
Rather than commanding your employees and telling them what to do and when to do it, allow your employees to be at their best by giving them autonomy.
Do not micromanage. After all, you (or your HR department) have hired these individuals for what they can bring to the table. Thus, trust them. Grant them a sense of ownership; give them tools, resources, and boundaries to work with. Encourage them to work with each other and make sure everyone is on the same page. And when they make a mistake, stay calm and tackle the situation head on, help them solve the problem.
Establish an inclusive and welcoming culture
Your team is a collection of people from different walks of life; different cultures, traits, personalities, and viewpoints. Use this diversity to your advantage by accepting these different values and strengths.
Create a company culture that welcomes everyone. You can pursue activities and initiatives that create a positive and welcoming workplace for different cultures that will benefit everybody.
More importantly, establish a company culture that reflects appreciation, respect, and teamwork. Bring them together and give everyone an opportunity to connect with their co-workers.
Tackle issues that concern your employees, especially issues that are important to them and give them a chance to be heard. For example, you have members of the LGBTQ+ community in your company. Make sure you provide them a safe space to work and give them equal opportunities to grow and develop their careers.
Likewise, welcome new hires graciously. As a manager, you play a huge role in your company’s hiring process which is vital for boosting the organization’s employee retention. Small gestures like taking them out for a cup of coffee or lunch can help you establish a rapport, which is crucial for building trust in the workplace right from the start.
The Bottom Line
The more you actively work on building trust in the workplace, the more cohesive your workforce will become as a unit. With the right leadership, encouragement, and tools, you will soon have your dream team of people who trust each other and love working with each other.