Leaders in all organisations want their employees to be productive, motivated and engaged, so it figures that leaders will do whatever it takes to create the right environment for this to happen, right? Sadly this is not always the case. It may be through a lack of understanding or awareness, or perhaps a lack of training for managers and leaders on what needs to happen.
I recently read an article by the Harvard Business Review and in their survey they found significant differences between employees in low or high trust environments. Employees in ‘high trust’ environments reported
- 50% more productivity
- 76% more engagement with the organisation
- 106% more energy
- 74% less stress
As a leader, YOU are the person with the greatest influence to create an environment of high trust for your team. The evidence shows how important trust is – it motivates, creates loyalty and encourages the sharing of ideas and thus increase innovation in the organisation.
So how do we do it?
Here are my Top Tips on How to build trust with your team :
1) Invest time in getting to know your team as individuals
How well do you know your individual team members? People are more likely to trust a leader who shows a genuine interest in them and the things which are important to them. Everyone in your team is a person who has needs, aspirations and challenges in both life and work. Discovering these can give you a huge insight into how to motivate them to increased performance and engagement.
2) Be consistent in all your dealings
Employees notice what you do and how you act towards them and their colleagues. If you are inconsistent in supporting people, the team will remember this and as a consequence their level of trust in you will fall.
How well do you keep your commitments? If you book a team member 1:1 or agree a post meeting action – do you keep to these or do you fail to follow through. This type of behaviour erodes trust between the leader and the team.
3) Communicate openly and frequently
In this day and age of constant 24/7 information it is easy for leaders to assume people know the information or can find it out themselves. One of your roles as a leader is to share information freely and regularly. Your team look to you as the main source of communication, regardless of how many other channels your organisation offers. People want to hear from people, whether it is a business update, a change in process or a simple ‘Thank you’. Your team also need you to listen carefully.
4) Give trust to your team
If you want to be trusted and create trust in your team then give trust to your team members. Show them you trust their judgement, their initiative, empower them to try out new ideas. Naturally not everything will be successful and choosing your approach to experimental failures by your team is key to building trust. Blaming and shaming will damage their trust so instead support their learning from the process and encourage involvement.
5) Admit to your own mistakes
As the saying goes – nobody is perfect and yet as leaders we often think we need to act as if we are. It takes great courage and strength of character to admit to your own mistakes and failings when you are in a leadership position. However the impact of this action is both positive and powerful. Showing your team some of your vulnerability shows you are human and can also make mistakes. It builds respect, credibility and trust.
6) Role model the behaviours you want to see from your team
It was Charles Handy who said ‘Leaders do not communicate the message, leaders ARE the message’ As leaders we need to role model the behaviours we want from our teams. The team will follow what they see you do, rather than what you say. If you want openness and honesty – you need to lead this, if you want high trust in your team, you need to create it.
Why not try out these top tips to build trust with your team members. As always I’d love to hear how this works for you.
Aspire HR Ltd is a training and development consultancy, specialising in leadership and management development. We offer MBTI profiling, leadership programmes, short workshops and coaching to support new and experienced leaders be successful in leading their teams to perform at their best. www.aspirehrltd.co.uk