6 most effective ways leaders build trust

The most effective ways for leaders to build trust

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The best way leaders can improve their team over time with a guarantee of returns is to invest in them by building trust. No matter how big your organization is or how small your business is, there is an attribute your team should have apart from competence. It does not matter if you lead a group of many or one. This quality is essential to every business and its workforce. That attribute is trust. According to Havard Business Review, Compared with people at low-trust companies, people at high-trust companies report:

  • 74% less stress, 
  • 106% more energy at work, 
  • 50% higher productivity, 
  • 13% fewer sick days, 
  • 76% more engagement, 
  • 29% more satisfaction with their lives, 
  • 40% less burnout.

Trust is the most underrated quality in the workplace. If you could improve your profit and decrease cost, would you not go for it? Yet, many leaders and business owners do not put enough emphasis on trust-building as they should. Your team cannot get to its highest level of performance without a high level of trust. As individuals, you know that trust is valuable and rewarding. Yet, as easy to understand as trust is, it is one of the most challenging to build and maintain. 

What does trust look like in the workplace?

Trust at work is a state where you and your team can interact with sincerity, safety, dependability, competence, and confidence. You can describe trust in another way. It is when your team members can be themselves without fear of retaliation, blame, or penalty, and you can depend on your team to perform at their best.

Why is it important to build trust?

Businesses with high levels of trust have the best performance.

Great Place to Work  along with Harvard Business Review, Warton, Duke and more identified the World’s Best Workplaces in 2021 by analyzing surveys representing 19.8 million employee opinions worldwide. The  survey showed a strong correlation between high levels of trust and strong business performances.

If you want to improve your bottom line, improve customer satisfaction and decrease turnovers, then invest in building trust within your team.

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Types of trust

1. Performance Trust is when your team can depend on each other to do their jobs confidently and competently. This trust is the first you build because your work performance forms the foundation of this type of trust. 

2. Emotional trust is a higher level of trust. It is doing more than the required for the team and having each person's back. There is a more personal connection involved in this type of trust.  

Trust can not happen if it is left to chance. You must be deliberate in the steps you take when managing your workforce to achieve a high level of trust.

6 of the most effective ways to build trust

1. Communicate effectively.

 Be clear when communicating with your team. There are four things that your team needs to know from you.

  • The goals your team must meet.
  • The role or expectation for each member of your team.
  • The processes you want your team to follow.
  • The risks your team should know.

Once you can state the above clearly, you reduce the occurrences of conflicts. The  other part of communicating effectively is active listening.  Actively listen, ask for and offer feedback at the right time in the right way.

2. Give your team members autonomy.

Give your team members autonomy. Allow your team to use their discretion when doing their jobs. Giving them the freedom to do what they are skilled at doing also means they are accountable for what they do. Provide the oversight they need and educate them on minimizing risk as they do their jobs.

A side note for detail-oriented people. 

If you are detailed-oriented and struggle with letting go of control because you fear your team may get it wrong, then right down the processes you prefer and the results you expect. Give your preferred method to your team and look out for the outcome rather than focusing on the style and manner they perform their tasks.

3. Apply the rules with wisdom.

Rules are there to guide, not to penalize. When you notice your team member doing wrong, such as arriving to work late, attempt to understand what is going on with that person first and see if you can help before thinking about penalizing.

When dealing with your direct report about a broken rule, approach them with empathy, decency, and respect. The purpose of a rule is not to penalize but to prevent wrong and risky behaviors. 

4. Be Transparent With Your Team.

Share information with your team. Limit what you withhold from them.

If your organization is doing well, inform your team. When going through a challenging time, share it too. Secrecy can give rise to speculations and rumors leading to high-stress situations and uncertainty.All these can breed distrust, the opposite of what you want to have in your team.

5. Show Interest In The Growth Of Each Individual in Your Team.

Your employees are people who happen to work with you, not just job performers. See them as people who happen to perform a role at work. They have personal aspirations for their career.

Help your employees become better and advocate for them. Lookout for opportunities they can pursue, and periodically ask how you can help them. Set up meetings just for this purpose.

To build trust that is deep, lasting, and rewarding, genuinely look out for their development.

6. Be Intentional About Building Your Team As A Whole.

Encourage team building.

Engage in activities that make it easier for people to connect without the pressure of doing work. Where possible, pay for the time or the activity you are going to do. Meeting outside of work makes it easier to know your coworkers better. Also, you allow your workers to get to know each other better.

When people know each other better, it improves communication and helps to build trust.

Building trust does not happen overnight.

Trust takes time to build, but it is worth the work and time it takes. If you want to have a group of people who are happy to be in your team delivering excellent results, then you must do all you can to build trust. It is your responsibility as the leader to set the tone of your team, and building trust is part of that role.

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