How to Build Better Relationships by Demonstrating Trust
15 Easy Quick Wins Your Leaders/Managers Can Use to Build Trust
In the previous article, the first part of this series, we discussed what trust really means, why it matters in the workplace, and how to use the Trust Equation.
In today’s article, we explore 15 quick ways your managers can build trust in their teams.
1. Make Time
Managers/leaders need to make time to talk to and listen to their staff. If managers are always busy, it’s difficult to build trust and rapport. This open line of communication can be in almost any form, including face-to-face, through email, on WhatsApp, or over a call.
2. Get to Know Staff
To help build strong, trusting relationships, managers should try to get to know their staff better and find out not only what drives and motivates them at work, but also what they’re like as people beyond work. This makes staff feel cared for, making them much more likely to trust their manager/leader. When getting to know staff, it’s beneficial for managers to try to learn about individuals’ preferred learning and communication styles so they can adapt their leadership style accordingly.
3. Request Feedback
Whilst leaders are directional most of the time, it’s crucial to regularly and frequently request feedback from staff about what issues they are facing and how they could be improved. Their staff are the ones doing the work and experiencing the problems first hand so they often have the most insight and therefore the best ideas - the leader’s job is to harvest these ideas, and translate them into action. This shows staff that their leaders care about their problems and have their best interest at heart, helping build trust and a better, more open and communicative relationship.
4. Give Feedback
As well as requesting feedback, leaders should also give feedback to their staff. This feedback should highlight their staff’s strengths and also identify areas for improvement. When delivering this feedback, leaders should explain that the purpose of this is to give their staff the self-awareness they need to be able to excel in both their current job but also their career as a whole. Demonstrating their dedication to growing and developing their staff makes it much easier for managers to build better, stronger relationships.
5. Accept Mistakes
Employees are almost guaranteed to make a mistake at one point or another as they are still learning so leaders must be able to accept this, and find solutions to their staff’s mistakes rather than just pointing the finger and getting angry. Staff should feel that they are in a safe environment where they can say that they’ve made a mistake without fearing the reaction they’ll get. When a staff member makes a mistake, it’s important for leaders to remember that:
- “Mistakes are proof that you’re trying.”
- “The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.”
- “There are no ‘mistakes’ in life, only opportunities.”
6. Instil Autonomy
As Dan Pink explains in his 3 Pillars of Motivation theory, autonomy is key to staff motivation and job satisfaction, along with mastery and purpose. Studies show that giving staff autonomy decreases competition amongst team members and instead, they will focus more on their own impact rather than fighting for a position. Whilst loosening the reins can be intimidating, it is important. Managers can start by giving their staff a small task that they can own and be in charge of. The level of autonomy can then be increased over time until managers feel confident in their staff and that they trust them.
7. Don’t Micromanage
Micromanagement is detrimental to a team; it destroys creativity, innovation and team morale. Managers must tread a very delicate balance between attention to detail and micromanagement. If this is something that your managers struggle with, in one of our previous articles we explored how to recognise micro-managerial tendencies and how to overcome them.
8. Be Consistent
As we mentioned in our previous article, “simply put, trust means confidence.” Being consistent with messages, leadership approaches, and responses in given situations means that staff know what to expect from their managers/leaders, helping instil confidence and trust in them.
9. Show Appreciation
People like to feel appreciated and like their hard work doesn’t go unnoticed so it’s crucial for managers to give credit where credit’s due and recognise their employees’ achievements. By giving this praise, employees are likely to see the manager in a much more positive light, have a better relationship with them, and be willing to keep working hard as they see it does pay off.
10. Be Dedicated
Leaders act as role models for their staff so it’s crucial that they show dedication to the job and that they take it seriously. If leaders are hard-working, their staff are likely to follow in their footsteps. For example, if a manager decided to launch a new project and then suddenly went on holiday for a week, staff would likely find this frustrating, putting their relationship with the manager at risk.
11. Value Honesty
In his book, ‘The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom’, Don Miguel Ruiz identifies 4 traits that make a better, more trustworthy leader, the first being ‘be impeccable with your word’. Telling white lies to staff breaks down trust which is then extremely difficult to rebuild. Being honest and transparent will go a long way with building and keeping trust.
12. Don’t Take Things Personally
This is Ruiz’s second Agreement. Work can be stressful and staff may not always agree with the decisions that leaders make so sometimes, in the heat of the moment, staff may say things they don’t mean so it’s important to not take things personally to avoid relationships being broken down.
13. Don’t Make Assumptions
Leaders are responsible for making sure everything is fair and, when conflict arises, listening to all sides of the story, finding out what actually happened, and then coming up with a solution. Being able to do this takes a combination of patience and emotional intelligence, as well as awareness of own biases.
14. Always Do Your Best
The fourth and final Agreement is that leaders should always do their best. If they do their best, no one can ask any more from them and staff are more likely to be on the leader’s side and sympathise with them if they see they’re putting the work in too, leading to much better relationships.
15. Listen Actively
Active listening is a crucial part of building better, more trusting relationships with staff. Often, leaders listen just to respond, rather than to understand. If your organisation’s managers or leaders struggle with active listening or communication as a whole, we have written several articles that could help:
- How to Take Your Listening Skills to the Next Level
- How to Avoid the #1 Annoyance at Work
- Using the Most Effective Form of Communication
Trust is a Long Game
Trust doesn’t just appear; it needs to be actively built over time and, most importantly, not lost. Think of trust as a bank where you can only make small deposits (because trust isn’t easy to build). If you then make a large withdrawal (by breaking the trust), everything you’ve worked to ‘save’ up and build will be gone. So, it’s important for managers and leaders to take quick wins like those above to build trust wherever they can.
To get all of your managers and leaders on the same page and thinking the right way, we run several courses around trust and building relationships which you can view by clicking here or following the link below.
If you are interested in any of these courses, we are also holding a free webinar at 10:30am on Thursday 16th September 2021 around ‘How to Build Better Relationships by Demonstrating Trust’.
This webinar would be perfect for you and any managers and leaders in your organisation to get a sample of our training and start building better, more trusting relationships in your organisation. You can sign up for free by clicking here or following the link below.
Until next time...