Last week I asked the question – is trust in the workplace earned or lost? Unexpectedly, responses were mixed: I expected the majority to subscribe to my philosophy of “You have my trust unless you prove me otherwise”, but a surprising number of managers still advocate the “Trust should be earned” viewpoint. These unforeseen results got me thinking about a follow-up question – Okay, in that case, if trust needs to be earned, what can you (as a manager or team leader) do to foster an environment in which your employees can gain your trust? Here are some quick ideas:
- Find points of commonality, either at a professional or a personal level. Perhaps you and one of your staff members both have a love of travel, or you and one of your employees both graduated from the same university or college; common ground creates conversation starters and forms the foundation on which to build a relationship. And as relationships grow, so does trust.
- Set employees up to succeed. Give them tasks or assignments in which you know they’ll excel. The glow of success will spill over into future assignments which you can then increase in complexity and risk as time goes on.
- Be generous in your praise. Of course, the praise should be sincere and legitimate, but don’t just think about what a good job your employee did, tell him!
- Give staff an opportunity to ask questions. Let them engage in a dialogue with you; it’s a great way for you to assess their strengths and skills, and it promotes a positive working environment.
This is my starter list. What else do you have to add? What are you doing to build trust and cooperation on your team? Please comment below.