How trustworthy are you? Research shows that high levels of trust between a leader and his or her team can provide a significant boost to employee engagement, productivity and company performance. When there’s trust, great things can be accomplished. But how do you show your employees that they can trust you?
Researchers say many leaders fail to employ the most simple and effective trust-building strategies within their organizations, such as connecting with employees on a personal level. Do you show genuine interest in employees’ personal lives as well as their professional ones? You don’t have to pry to show a genuine interest in those who you spend your workdays with. Do you talk with each member of your team on a one-on-one basis periodically about work-related issues? Make an effort to get to know them and help them succeed professionally? In a poll conducted for Harvard Business Review, not having time to meet with employees, not knowing employees’ names and not asking about employees’ career goals and lives outside work were among the top complaints employees have about their company’s leaders. Surprised?
David DeSteno, a professor of psychology at Northeastern University who has studied the concept of organizational trust, has found that the more power a person has in an organization, the less trustworthy and caring they often appear. That’s why personal connections are so important. Finding common interests and showing genuine interest in other people is a great way to help create a connection and build from there.
Showing your employees that you trust them can in turn encourage them to trust you. But many leaders fail miserably at trusting their employees and micromanage them rather than delegating and granting employees as much autonomy as possible. For too many leaders, the concept of teamwork means telling their team what to do and how to do it. That diminishes rather than builds trust.
Do your employees know that you will follow through with what you say and what you commit to? Make sure that you are delivering as much as you expect your team to. Ever admitted that you were wrong? Surveys show that many employees have never heard their boss admit when he or she was wrong. Or admit when an employee’s idea is better than their own. Admitting when you’re wrong or that you are mistaken is a simple way to foster trust with your team.