Integral to the success of any business are the relationships between employees and management. Creating trust must be at the center of creating healthy working relationships, and management must ensure that trust grows within your enterprise. An atmosphere of trust helps employees feel comfortable in the workplace, which leads to higher employee retention, improved productivity, and increased business growth.
Start from a Place of Trust
To learn if you can trust someone, do one simple thing: trust them. That’s far easier than said. Managers must begin interactions with employees from a place of trust to encourage employees to offer their trust in return. Assume the best from your employees from the start, and most will surprise you in a positive way.
One of the easiest and most effective ways to show trust as a manager is trusting employees to complete tasks assigned to them. This means no micromanaging—simply assign the task, offer a deadline, and let the employee work. Micromanaging wastes time and discourages employees. If you instead show your trust by allowing employees to complete work in their own way, they will feel more confident in their work and reciprocate the trust you’ve shown.
Open and honest communication is crucial to building trust, and essential to running a business. Managers need to take time to communicate with employees and higher ups. Express both praise and criticism to ensure employees have an idea of what they do well and where they can improve. If you make a mistake as a manager, admit to it, take responsibility, then communicate how you and your team can work together to prevent the mistake from happening in the future.
The most important part of communication isn’t what you communicate, but what others communicate to you. Listen carefully to employees, taking note of their ideas, concerns, and opinions. Determine whether you can—or should—act and follow through. If you can’t or shouldn’t act at the time, discuss the matter with the employee and explain why.
If you want to create lasting trust, consider making your organization’s inner workings more transparent. By opening up to employees, you prove you have nothing to hide and can be trusted. This may be as simple as having semi-regular meetings to discuss the state of the business, or it may be as comprehensive as having extensive data accessible by all members of the company. The degree to which you are transparent is up to you, your organization, and what you feel comfortable with.
Trust is a Process
It is important to remember that trust in the workplace is always in a state of flux. Managers must continuously build and maintain trust between team members and higher ups. You can help make this process easier by implementing solid, well-thought-out policies for your team and the company that will encourage trust but remember that building trust will be a daily exercise.