Trust is important in every relationship, but especially in the workplace. According to research by Gallup, trust in the workplace increases employee productivity and performance. If you want to have a high performing team, you must demonstrate that you trust your employees and also gain their trust in you as a leader. A study by Trust Edge Leadership Institute found that companies with high trust levels outperform companies with low trust levels by 186%. That is a competitive advantage you just can’t afford to ignore. The research by the Trust Edge Leadership Institute also provides eight ways leaders can increase trust with their employees:
- Clarity- Lack of clarity leads to anxiety in the workplace. When employees are unsure of what is expected of them, they have a difficult time performing. Make sure to set clear realistic goals. Also make sure employee are clear about company goals and understand how their work contributes to them.
- Compassion- Employees are humans and they need to be treated as such. Your employees will trust you more if you show them you care. One way to do this is to really get to know your employees. Understand what motives them. Then make sure to recognize their achievements. Check out our Employee Recognition Toolkit for ideas.
- Character- One area that often leads to mistrust is a feeling of unfairness in the workplace. According to Gallup research, only 18% of employees strongly agree that employees who perform better grow faster at their organization. This means that the majority of employees do not believe the quality of their work has any bearing on how they are measured, developed or promoted. Ask your managers to take a look at their current performance management system. Are there areas where employees may be treated unfairly?
- Competency- Leaders need to demonstrate that they are staying current and continuing to develop themselves. In addition to their own professional development, it is inspiring to work for someone who is consistently striving to eb better.
- Commitment- Employees want to see that their leaders are committed to their work. Leaders should demonstrate a strong work ethic and a passion for the company and their work. These things are contagious.
- Connection- Feedback (whether positive or negative) should not be the only form of communication leaders have with employees. Leaders need to understand that employees want to talk about their work and their life. They want to feel like leadership in the organization actually cares about them as a person; that they understand what is important to them. Every employee is different, so this can take many forms.
- Contribution- When leaders get in the trenches and help out, they gain the trust of their employees. Encourage your leaders to step in and assist employees when possible.
- Consistency- Doing the little things well, like communication, recognition, and feedback, every time is important. As mentioned above, uncertainty makes employees anxious. They want to know what to expect from you as a leader.
These eight things don’t have to be overwhelming. Start by focusing on one or two each month and challenge the other leaders in your organization to do so as well. Hold each other accountable to making small changes each day to help build a culture of trust in your organization.