Your ability to motivate your employees is built entirely on trust. Your employees must believe in you and be confident in your decisions so they can do their best work. By creating an environment of trust in the workplace, you make it more likely that employees will be committed to reaching their peak potential.
There are simple ways of building trust like doing what you say you will do, but you’ll also find a range of more detailed tactics to improve their faith in you. An employee’s trust in their superior greatly influences their perception of the company. If there is a disconnect between what you do and say, your employees will not be as engaged in their work.
Trust is important because your success or failure is often based on your relationships. Every professional relationship should be built on a foundation of trust. For you to agree on a solution or reach a compromise, this confidence will be a key factor.
When you have trust in the workplace, you improve morale among your employees and team members. You also reduce the amount of time it takes to solve problems and discuss issues during meetings. As a result, you can work effectively as a team and boost your team’s productivity.
Trust is built from the top, down. For your employees to be committed to doing their best work, they have to trust in you. By adopting the following twelve techniques, you can quickly build trust and inspire your team to put forth their best work.
1. Be Honest & Support Your Team
Employees must know you are honest with them at all time. Even when the truth is difficult to hear, they need to know you will give them the facts. At the same time, you also need to be sensitive to their feelings and use constructive criticism when necessary.
For your team to do their best work, they should feel supported. Mistakes will happen, but your team needs to feel comfortable sharing problems with you in confidence. By being supportive and honest, you can establish trust in the workplace.
2. Respond Constructively to Problems
An estimated 32 percent of an employee’s loyalty is based on how much they trust their boss. One of the biggest drivers of this trust is how the boss responds to work problems. Unfortunately, over half of employees state their leader does not consistently respond to work issues in a constructive way.
The first step is to ask questions about how you can help your employees. Ask them about potential problems or current frustrations. For you to respond constructively to a problem, you first have to know that a problem exists.
When you discover a problem, avoid getting defensive. Instead, listen to the problem or criticism and ask what you can do to help. They may only want a listening ear, so give the employee a chance to tell you if they need help or not before you jump in to fix the issue.
3. Avoid Micromanaging
Think about how you felt the last time a boss micromanaged your decisions or workflow. Did you feel inspired to take initiative? Or did it feel like they didn’t trust you to do the right thing on your own?
No one enjoys being micromanaged as it can have a profound negative effect on your team members. This does not mean you have to let your employees do whatever they want without any direction. You can maintain some level of control over their actions without making them feel micromanaged.
One of the best ways to do this is by using platforms like Toggl Plan. With our software, you can divide up tasks in the team calendar and immediately see how your team is progressing toward specific goals. Without having to micromanage, you can keep everyone organized through capacity planning, project roadmaps, a sharing timeline, and other integrated collaboration tools.
4. Model the Behavior You Want to See
Employees often learn about the culture of the organization and expectations by watching the behavior of their management. If you do the opposite of what you say you want, they will not feel as inclined to follow your direction. To show that teamwork and trust are qualities you value, you must become an example of these characteristics on a daily basis.
Start by collaborating with each team. Give people credit when they work hard and show your appreciation. If you want to see honest dialogue and trust, you have to be honest and trustworthy.
Build accountability into everything you do. Everyone makes mistakes, but it is what happens next that matters the most. When employees know that you take accountability, they see you as a credible leader who they are excited to follow.
5. Protect Your Employees
Developing trust in the workplace is about more than simply following basic techniques or checking items off a list. Trust is built based on who you are as a person and how you act. One way to build trust is by being respectful and protective of each and every team member.
If you talk about another employee behind their back, other employees will naturally be afraid that you could do the same thing to them. They will only trust you if they know you support them whether they are present or not. To build and maintain trust in the workplace, you must ensure each of your actions lines up with a trustworthy image.
6. Keep Your Word
One of the easiest ways to build trust is to always keep your word. If you make a promise to do something, follow through on that promise. Never tell someone you will finish a report or read a memo unless you actually plan on doing it.
If there is some reason why you could not keep your word, be honest and tell the employee what happened. People can forgive you for a family emergency or an unexpected problem, but it will become an issue if you simply don’t do it or make up poor, dishonest excuses.
7. Competence Is Imperative
As the leader, your team looks to you for support and guidance. Your position as the manager often means you are perceived as the individual with the most experience and knowledge. Because of this, it is vital you demonstrate those skills and abilities in the workplace.
If you don’t know what you are doing or fail to prepare for a meeting, your team members will see it and lose confidence in you. This can lead them to question your judgment and ability to lead them as a group. In leadership positions, the concept of “fake it ‘til you make it” simply isn’t an option.
While you need to show up and prove you know what you’re doing, you also need to be honest when you don’t know the answer to a question or issue. If you do not know about a topic, avoid winging it or making something up. Someone will likely know that the information is not accurate, and it will hurt your relationship with your team members.
If you do not know the answer to a question, be honest and make it known with a follow-up that you’ll research and find out. You can investigate the topic later on and present the information via email or a future meeting. Doing this will also set a precedent for the way you want your team to act when they are uncertain about an answer.
8. Give Employees the Benefit of the Doubt
Whenever you work with your team, be willing to give your employees the benefit of the doubt. Conflict in the workplace can lead to people questioning their trust in a boss or co-worker. No one enjoys being in an argument, and it often makes the individual wonder if the conflict is related to a larger problem.
Whenever an issue arises with an employee, be sure to hear their side of the story and be genuine in trying to see things from their point of view. When confronted with an unexpected or incorrect answer, start by giving the employee the benefit of the doubt. But take some time to confirm the information and if they’re incorrect, provide educational and kind feedback.
9. Share Necessary Information
Sharing information is important for several reasons. In addition to showing you are a team player, it also gives your employees the tools they need to do their job. Sharing data helps you to build your credibility with your team.
Use tools like Toggl Plan to communicate project strategies and keep everyone aware of the most crucial tasks at hand.
10. Build Trust From Day One
Creating a culture of trust starts from the first day the employee is hired. In one survey, an excellent onboarding experience decreased turnover by 157 percent. It also increased employee engagement in their positions by an impressive 54 percent.
New employees rarely know what to expect from a company on their first day. Their initial training and first few weeks of work will tell them a lot about the behaviors expected at work and how things will be over the course of their career. By creating an amazing onboarding experience, you immediately build trust and show the conduct you expect.
11. Body Language Matters
Your body language shows whether you are listening to the other person or believe what they are saying. One simple way to build a strong relationship is through eye contact. When people avoid making eye contact, it makes them seem shifty, uncomfortable, or dishonest.
Along with making eye contact, pay attention to other factors of you body language. Crossed arms, facing away from the person, or slouching can make you appear disinterested. If you aren’t careful, your body language could ruin much of your trust-building efforts.
To show you are engaged in the conversation, try turning toward the speaker or leaning in toward them during your conversations. You can also nod slightly as they speak to show you are listening to what they have to say. By making eye contact and being careful with your body language, you can make it easier for your employees to approach you with issues or concerns.
12. Be Ready to Over-Communicate
Over-communicating helps in a number of different ways when done correctly. One benefit of over-communicating is it helps you prevent mistakes from happening. If a misunderstanding does occur, then the fault can often land on the manager for not being clear enough.
By communicating with your employees, you can ensure they know what to do and your expectations for each task. They should also get a chance to speak up and tell you about a potential problem. Over-communicate, clarify your points, and ensure everyone understands what is expected of them. Then, let them get to work.
Build Trust in Your Workplace with These Tips
You might not be able to control trust across your entire organization, but you can at least do so with the members of your team. Ultimately, every professional and personal relationship is built on confidence and the ability to rely on one another. For your team to excel, you have to build an environment of trust in the workplace.
As a team, you count on each other to handle different tasks and help when necessary. You rely on each other’s strengths and expertise.
When it comes down to it, your success or failure greatly depends on your ability to trust one another. All of the other factors like productivity, open communication, respect, and commitment are created or influenced by this trait. By building trust in the workplace, you set both yourself and your team up for success.
Want more tips to improve your team’s collaboration and ability to work together? Check out the Toggl Plan blog to learn additional tactics to help your everyday productivity.
Logan Derrick is a full-time business writer and content marketing strategist. For years, he has worked closely with several project management professionals, learning from them and increasing his own knowledge of the industry. Having held multiple management positions in fields ranging from customer service to marketing, Logan has found a passion for helping others learn about project management, marketing, and the powerful tools available to professionals today.