Establishing a trusting relationship with employees.

‘Once bitten, twice shy’, the reason few will have complete trust in your management at the onset of their employment. Sadly, most people have encountered a negative experience with a manager or supervisor at some point in their career, so as a manager, do not assume trust, it is your job to gain the trust of each of your employees. We know about the amazing things that happen when employees trust their superiors. It creates a culture of satisfied and motivated employees which is important for productivity and revenue. Personally, I don’t believe trust is hard to earn if you work with integrity and compassion, and you will find the more trustworthy you are, the more you will in turn, trust your employees.

Regardless of your current situation with employees there are a range of strategies you can implement to your management strategies to gain, regain or renew a trusting relationship with your employees.

Characteristics of a trustworthy manager

  • Know your values, know the values of the individuals in your team, know the values of your company – articulate them, demonstrate them, celebrate them
  • Honest: Even when it involves delivering sensitive or difficult information. Be compassionate, but aware that in business, people want the truth even if it hurts. Stand in the shoes of the receiver.  NEVER DELIVER BAD NEWS ON A FRIDAY, in fact never deliver any news on a Friday. 
  • Integrity: Simply do what you say you will do.
  • Respectful: This involves some self-awareness as many people may not even realise that they are not demonstrating respect to others. Simple gestures such as stopping a task to provide your undivided attention to someone, making eye contact, acknowledging people as you pass them.  When there is a conversation in play – give it your all.
  • Approachable: If you aren’t liked, you aren’t trusted.
  • Compassionate: Always remember your employee’s are human beings with feelings, opinions, aspirations and, personal lives. Treat them in a way that you would expect a loved one of yours to be treated by their managers.
  • Supportive: Even during the difficult times or when mistakes have been made

Actions of a trustworthy manager

  • Be a person when you introduce yourself. Use your name, not your position
  • Acknowledge mistakes and failure happens (even by you): Create a secure environment in which employees are comfortable owning up to their mistakes to ensure they are rectified as a team promptly. Learning together and sharing failures will help your design thinking and innovative approaches to problem solving. 
  • Show respectful interest in your employees lives. Personal lives can affect work performance. During difficult times employees are more likely to open up to managers that have shown a genuine interest getting to know them. The compassion you have during the difficult times will not easily be forgotten in the good times.
  • Ask more than tell: What is the most effective way to build trust? Ask, Ask Ask! Simply asking your employees as individuals what would build their trust, how they prefer you to give recognition or feedback. It is a lot more effective than guessing.
  • Listen: We typically do not hear 60% of what has been said, listening, hearing and understanding are important skills to learn in management. Be quiet and allow time for the speaker to talk. Paraphrase what you have heard back to check understanding.
  • Model the behaviour you expect: There is no quicker way to lose the respect and trust of an employee than adopting the ‘do as I say, not as I do’ attitude.
  • No unpleasant surprises: No one likes to be surprised with a performance review, bad news, redundancy, or anything of that nature. Transparency and communication are crucial for building trust.
  • Praise your employees often. This small but incredible gesture is often forgotten, meaning most employees are only hearing from you if there is a concern. Being praised releases dopamine and oxytocin. Organisations with a culture of praise are 20% more productive and profitable.
  • Confidence: Treat them as though you trust them. Trust is a two-way street, if you want your employees to trust you, you must be willing to do the same for them. Give them the freedom to complete tasks without micromanaging them and allow them to develop their own ways to achieve.
  • Confidentiality: This is basic management, but especially important. Be mindful of what you say about one employee’s performance or personal circumstances to another. Office gossip spreads like wildfire, and one slip of the tongue could lose the trust you have built up within minutes.
  • Be silent: Give you employees the chance to think, problem solve and contribute their ideas. If you have all the answers, no one will grow.

Trust can be earnt be establishing a relationship and demonstrating strong communication and respect. Trust goes both ways; the more trustworthy you are, the more trustworthy your employees will be. The smallest of kind gestures, such as buying a round of coffee or shouting a lunch will go a long way.

Love Life  Love YOUR Life

Ferne Eliz King

About Ferne

Ferne is globally recognised and called upon for quickly accelerating complex change to achieve business strategies.  Translating strategies to actionable plans, prioritisation of those actions, engagement from the right people, bringing business architecture to life or your life plan if individual and in many cases driving the change as a program director.  The bottom line is Ferne accelerates businesses or individuals to achieve outcomes and enabling that is her passion.

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“If you do the same thing today as yesterday, your tomorrow will be the same as today”.  Ferne Eliz King

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