Planting the seeds of trust
The trust of your employees is a major concern to the manager who wants to accomplish great things. Trust makes every person’s work easier, as it forms the basis for openness between management and employees. And open communication is an essential ingredient in any successful workplace.
The foundation of a trusting relationship between a manager and employees is that manager’s integrity. Trust generally develops over time through the course of interaction. A manager builds trust by meeting commitments and keeping promises.
Managers need and usually want the trust of their employees. But it doesn’t happen overnight. If your employees don’t know you well or have had reason to mistrust you in the past, it may take time to build that trust. Below are some practices that will help you sow the seeds of trust amongst you and your employees:
■ Talk in terms of “We.” When you talk to and about your employees, use the word “we”. Your job as manager is to help your employees reach their goals in order to benefit the company. Let your employees know that you are a team.
■ Share the credit. When you acknowledge and thank your employees for their contributions, you build trust. It shows them that you are there to help them and not to take credit for their work.
■ Create a good work environment. People need people. Don’t isolate employees from each other. If people work at opposite ends of the building, arrange times for meetings. Create interaction and let employees get to know one another. It is difficult to trust someone you do not know. When people are familiar with each other an atmosphere of trust can begin to develop. Not only is it important for people to know each other to develop trust, but this can be a valuable opportunity to exchange information and solve problems. The more people know about one another, the more they will trust not only others, but yourself, as well.
■ Be predictable. One of the most basic needs for trust is predictability. Do what you say you are going to. Employees develop trust as they feel safe and secure. When it is known that you can be counted on to follow through, trust builds.
■ Be willing to admit your mistakes. Letting employees know you are human is one of the best ways to enhance your credibility. This doesn’t mean that you need to confess your every fault, but be able to admit when you make a mistake.
■ Keep your employees informed. If times are tough or major changes are about to happen, let employees know as much as possible. Surprising them with the news does not foster trust; it will instead develop feelings of betrayal and a loss of your credibility.
■ Trust your employees. Demonstrating your trust in your employees encourages them to trust you. Distrusting them will always cause them to hesitate to place their trust in you.