A recent study found that one in three employees don’t trust their employer, while another study found that number to be even lower. Only 46% of people had trust in their organization and only 49% in their boss/team.
If an employee doesn’t trust their manager, the company suffers, and this is a problem in employee performance. Sure, ruling through fear works, but the employee will do the bare minimum amount of work needed to keep their job. Smart leaders know that engaged workers bring creativity and passion to their work, which means more minds seeking more solutions to problems or streamlining processes.
There are many things that managers can do to establish trust with their employees, which include being open and honest about changes that will impact them; effectively communicating by talking to them, not at them; having an open-door policy, and then following up; and being willing to pitch in to help. All of this make improves employee performance.
So how can managers establish a relationship of trust with their employees?
1. Employee Trust Must Be Earned
Employees will be more likely to respect a manager who can talk openly with them about difficult situations, answer questions, and give them the facts. In turn, this should encourage employees to be honest themselves and bring difficult topics to the table, be it with their manager or their peers. You can demonstrate you are trustworthy as a leader by keeping your word with your employees. Let them see your integrity. Say what you’ll do, and then do what you say. Show them you are leading in alignment with the values of the organization. Reward employees who improve employee performance with integrity give trust and ask for their trust in return. Be trustworthy and honorable, and communicate that you expect the same.
2. Ask Your Employees What’s Most Important To Them
Are you having trouble to improve employee performance? Struggling to figure out what resources your team is lacking? Not sure what you can do to make your management style more effective?
It’s that simple. As a manager, it’s easy to develop one specific management style and simply hope that your team is receptive to it. While that can work to some extent, here’s the thing: Being a manager inherently involves interacting with a wide range of personalities and preferences—and what works for one person isn’t going to work for everyone. But by asking each of your employees pointed questions about how they’d like to be managed, you can figure out what will work best for your team, and mold your management style accordingly.
3. Offer Your Own Trust First
As Ernest Hemingway said, “The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.” If you want your employees to trust you, try trusting them first. Give them a task, even an easy one, and let them complete it on their own. This simple gesture will go a very long way. If your employees believe you will have their back, they will run through walls for you.
4. Show Them You Aren’t Afraid Of Failure
Any mistake or struggle in employee performance will make the leader look bad, so every employee is seen as a threat. This drives selfish, bad behavior and creates an unsafe place for the team. Trust only happens in a fear-free environment. Every leader needs to work on their own fear issues, so they can focus on building the team instead of their ego.
Most leaders crave a team dedicated to excelling in their roles and who have the grit to push through the fear of failure when it holds them back. Most team members dream of a boss who is excited to support them by making it safe to take risks and who has the experience to help them grow. So this problem it causes to employee performance. In many cases, though, leaders and team members fail to connect in a way that addresses how much fear of failure holds them back.
5. Listen Effectively
In today’s high-tech, high-speed, high-stress world, communication is more important than ever, yet we seem to devote less and less time to really listening to one another. Genuine listening has become a rare gift—the gift of time. It helps build relationships, solve problems, ensure understanding, resolve conflicts, and improve accuracy. At work, effective listening means fewer errors and less wasted time and improve employee performance. At home, it helps develop resourceful, self-reliant kids who can solve their own problems. Listening builds friendships and careers. It saves money and marriages. Managers establish trust by asking effective questions, then by actually listening to employees’ answers. The technique of “drilling” down with questions can take a surface-level conversation to a meaningful dialogue. Following up with action in a manner that supports employees’ ideas and concerns reinforces that the manager listened. Also, it causes to improve employee performance.