7 Ways to Build Trust in a Team
The day you’ve worked so hard for is finally here. You have a new office, a new title and a new standing in the company. You are a brand new manager. And with all the “new” things you’ll be receiving, let’s not forget about the most important ones—your new staff.
New faces, new personalities, new ideas and skills: If you aren’t careful, the seeming glamor of all this newness will fade away pretty fast.
You’ve read the statistic—workers don’t quit their jobs, they quit their bosses. So, as a newbie to management (especially if you’re an external hire) how do you keep those a part of your team from quitting you? Simple, it takes trust.
Research shows that trusting employees are more engaged employees, and more engaged workers produce better productivity for the company and overall job satisfaction for the workers.
Below are just seven of the many ways a new manager (or management) can build trust within a team or department:
1. Every new manager should lead by example. If you desire your team to arrive to work on time, you need to be in the office before they come in. Don’t want minutes wasted by the water cooler? Don’t get caught there yourself. Whatever rules the company has and/or you have set in place, follow them to a tee. Why? Because leading by example shows you have good character. You are not a manager whose philosophy is to “do as I say, not as I do.” This will lead your staff to trust you and your actions, because workers are more inclined to trust a manager with a proven record of good character than one whose character is constantly in question.
2. Follow through with your commitments. They say your word is your bond, so keep it. If you tell an employee you’re going to do something, do it. Of course things happen, but make it as much of a priority as you can to follow through. Workers will see this dedication and trust you more because of it.
3. Support the staff under you. A Towers Watson survey showed that 39 percent of employees feel senior management does not exhibit attitudes and behaviors that reflect they care about the well-being of their employees. A mere 3 percent thought their managers treated them as key parts of the organization. Supporting your staff is critical to building employee engagement and trust. Back up your staff when they’ve been falsely accused, endorse their skills, offer them professional development resources and listen to their ideas. These things count.
4. Have an open-door policy. Whenever possible, let your staff know they can always come to you. Make them feel comfortable talking to you about personal (to an extent) and professional issues. Be personable and relatable and always remember to respect their privacy. How much more trusting are you toward someone you feel you can be yourself around? Your workers are just the same.
5. Be transparent when necessary. The same Towers Watson study revealed that only 31 percent of workers thought their senior managers communicated openly and honestly. No one likes a phony or someone who puts on a better-than-you persona. Let your employees know that you’re human too. Address your shortcomings and how they can learn from them. Own up to the mistakes that you make (and you will make them) and use them as teaching opportunities. Workers are more prone to trust an honest imperfect manager than a pretentious wanna-be perfect one.
6. Recognize those on your team. We all want a little recognition every now and then. According to the Workforce Mood Tracker survey of 630 global corporate respondents, 69 percent of employees would work harder if they were better recognized, 78 percent of U.S. workers said being recognized motivates them on their job, and 49 percent of workers said they would leave their current job for a company that clearly recognized employees for their efforts and contributions. Don’t let this slip past you as a new manager; workers need to be rewarded for what they do. It not only shows that you appreciate them and their skills, but pushes them to trust in your view of their roles within the company.
7. Respect your employees. For me, this is the most important form of gaining your team’s trust. Studies show that 63 percent of workers who do not feel treated with respect intend to leave a job within two years. As the old saying goes, “Treat others how you want to be treated.” No worker is going to trust you without you earning his/her respect first, and workers are more likely to respect you if they see you respect them.