How to Build the Trust of Your Team

I blogged recently about the poor levels of team engagement here in Australia, with a very low 24% that were actively engaged in their work. Lack of engagement means a number of negatives to your business with high staff turnover, lower productivity, and low morale being three challenges.

I read some very interesting research recently to add to the ideas I provided in my previous blog that I believe will help to better engage your team and reap the benefits. But first the bad news:

Recent global research on organizational trust from the Edelman Group (the world’s largest public relations firm) that suggests “nearly one in three employees don’t trust their employer”. What a staggering figure and an indictment on today’s poor leadership. So how do you build trust with your team? There’s some pretty basic stuff as follows:

  • Lead by example – “you can’t expect your team to listen to your advice but ignore your example”. Being a great role model brings you credibility and respect.
  • Listen, don’t talk – your team often have great ideas but do they get a chance to voice their opinion? Asking their thoughts creates buy-in as everyone likes their opinion to be heard.
  • Follow up on what you promised – nothing destroys trust and credibility if you promise to do something and you don’t. If you can’t do something make sure you tell your team the reasons why not, at least this way they see you have listened and at least tried to accommodate their ideas.

Let’s go to the next level that really starts to build massive credibility and trust. Research highlighted by Dik, Byrne and Steger (authors of the book “Purpose and meaning in the workplace”) shows that leaders who create at-work experiences that increase an employee’s sense of meaning will reap a host of organizational benefits, as well as individual wellbeing benefits to the employee.

The challenge certainly comes with creating at-work experiences that are meaningful even when the work itself may not provide a sense of meaning for the employee. Not everyone will gain a sense of meaning from the work they do, but it is possible to gain a sense of meaning through their broader at-work experiences.

I see this as challenging your team to think more broadly about what their role actually entails – it’s not cutting hair, it’s providing an experience that helps the customer feel good about themselves. It’s not just a cup of coffee, it’s the chance to interact with a customer and put a smile on their face on their way to work. Have a discussion with your team and get them to come up with the bigger meaning of what they do and why you do what you do. The key part is to follow up and praise them when you see them live to this bigger meaning by creating amazing customer experiences.

It’s the implementation of these basic and bigger strategies within the workplace that helps build employee trust with their leaders. The evidence clearly shows that when leaders earn and maintain employees’ trust through intentional promises and actions, there is an increased potential for the business to thrive and for their people to flourish.

Roger Simpson – CEO, The Retail Solution and Author of “The Retail Solution” With over 35 years’ industry experience, Roger Simpson is recognized as Australia’s #1 Authority on customer ROI in the retail industry and as a global expert on staff coaching, customer service, and selling skills.

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