Building trust with your team is one of the most important things you can do to establish good relationships, increase productivity, and elevate employee engagement. If people do not trust you, they will not follow you.
There are several behaviors that trusting leaders have in common. We have determined six that are key in building trust with your team. These are not the only characteristics that matter when building trust, but they are very important and include concrete steps you can take to build a culture of trust.
6 Ways to Earn Trust
The first step you can take is to operate with integrity. Trusted leaders behave ethically and do the right thing, even when no one is watching. Be honest, transparent, and don’t make promises you can’t keep.
Another way to earn trust is through accountability. This includes holding yourself and others accountable for delivering on promises and adhering to commitments. You will build trust when you take responsibility for your actions and admit mistakes without blaming others.
Clarity is also key in building trust. Trusted leaders are clear about their mission, vision, values, expectations, and daily tasks. People trust you when you have a clear, concise message. Open and honest communication is a big part of this. Sharing information with people and keeping them in the loop helps them be more productive and effective.
When you develop relationships by getting to know the people on your team and letting them get to know you, you show that you care about them as a person, not just an employee. Try to listen more than you talk to show that you value their voice. Be empathetic and support people even when they make mistakes. Trust develops when you show your employees that you are invested in them by taking the time to coach, teach and train them.
Empowerment is a way to show that you trust others to do their work. Look for opportunities to delegate responsibility and provide as much autonomy as possible. Teach people how to do the work, then allow them to carry out the task. Include them in decision-making and goal setting. When employees feel trusted, they are more productive and innovative.
Be consistent, not unpredictable. When your team knows what to expect, they know how to work and how to behave. If you praise people one day and show anger the next, your team members will become anxious and hesitant. Try not to flip flop on decisions, but if you do change your mind, explain your reasons. Think about how you react in challenging situations. People need to see that you can handle problems and concerns coolly and calmly.
Demonstrating these behaviors to build trust with your team will help you engage and retain top talent.
Trust is the single more important ingredient in your ability to be an effective leader and deliver results. Author, speaker, and marketing expert, Seth Godin, summed it up best when he said, “Earn trust, earn trust, earn trust. Then you can worry about the rest.”