How important is trust in the workplace? Take a look back at times when you didn't trust those you worked for. It happens to many of us at some point in our careers. I’ll bet your levels of performance and productivity were low and that you felt out of sync with your work, your team and your leader. Being able to trust your leader and their vision can have a huge impact on how you perform and how you produce, and it can determine whether you go the extra mile for the business's bottom line.
A lack of trust often erodes teams and organizations to the point where people feel that their working environment has become toxic. The results of a toxic work environment — including unnecessary drama, fighting among employees, lack of communication and no clear protocol — can stifle productivity and results.
Trust is at the core of all good working relationships. When you trust those you work for and with, you're likely to have a higher level of confidence and feel supported. The business itself usually benefits too. Research shows that "in high-trust environments, people show up and do their best work. They are proud to be a part of the team and are motivated to produce results. They feel confident in themselves and each other. They know what is expected of them and what they can expect in return. They don’t hold back. They think out-of-the-box and are willing to take prudent risks. They know they don’t need to look over their shoulders, so instead they look to each other, and together they look ahead."
The same research highlights how leaders turn to trust building to deepen employee engagement, foster collaboration, help teams adjust to growth and drive change. All of these outcomes, in turn, can help a business be more successful.
Five Ways To Build Trust
Here are five ways to build trust if you are new to a team or have ascended to a new leadership role.
1. Be A Good Role Model
As a leader, you are the example, and it’s up to you to set the benchmark for others. Leaders are good role models when they can demonstrate how their vision impacts the world and those working toward that vision.
2. Tell The Truth
No matter how hard, uncomfortable or scary it is, always speak truthfully. As a result, people will be more likely to trust you and follow you.
3. Be Part Of The Team
Demonstrate loyalty to your team. Defend your team when needed, and provide a buffer if things aren't delivered in a timely manner by giving a justifiable reason why. Conversely, when things go well, praise your team to upper management. Let as many people as possible know how hard your team works. This can make both your team and you look great.
4. Be Transparent
Make sure that your team sees and understands why certain decisions are made. People often want to understand why you do what you do. Encourage questions and ideas from your team. Make them part of the process, and they'll feel like they're part of the solution as well.
5. Don’t Micromanage
Trust that you hired the right people to get the job done. If your team is left to perform on their own, they're likely to feel a greater sense of proprietorship. Team members often need to feel like they have a purpose, a cause and a goal to achieve and be part of. It may not be enough to do what they're told without asking why, how, what and when. They may need to feel that they're being seen and heard. You can get another level of effort from them and encourage them to trust you if you show that you trust them.
Actions That Can Lead To A Loss Of Trust
Here are some actions that can cause team members to lose trust in their leader. Try to avoid these.
• Allowing what you say to be out of sync with what you do
• Believing that your personal gain matters more than the greater good of the team
• Withholding important information
• Not showing interest in what team members have to say or contribute
Higher levels of trust within an organization without a doubt can create a better working environment that, in turn, leads to higher levels of success for the business. If there's a lack of trust in your organization, then it may be a slowly sinking ship where everyone is jumping overboard.
To build and maintain trust, treat your team members as you wish to be treated: with integrity and open communication. Don't withhold important information from them. Trust me — your team can sense when they're not privy to all the facts.