5 Do's and Don'ts to Build Trust

Joe Weinlick
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When you manage employees, trust is one of your most valuable assets. It improves nearly every aspect of office life, from morale to innovation. By making a conscious effort to build trust with your workers, you can create a strong team that carries the company through any storm.

Do: Communicate Openly and Often

Honest communication is one of the most important things you can do to build trust with employees. When you're not open with your team, they can only guess at what's going on behind the scenes — eventually, this creates confusion, fear and mistrust. The solution? Talk frankly with your employees, whether you're dealing with a single project or the future of the company. Be honest, whether you're delivering good or bad news. Over time, consistent communication reduces rumors and helps your employees trust that you're being transparent.

Don't: Forget That Employees Are People

As a manager, you're responsible for making sure your team hits certain performance goals. When you're feeling the pressure, it can be easy to start seeing your workers as metrics rather than people. To avoid this and build trust, try to balance your numbers with a touch of humanity. Build relationships with your staff, and get to know them as people. Recognize that their personal lives are important, and then take actions to prove that you understand. You might allow your staff some flexibility for errands during business hours, for example, or avoid asking them to stay late unless it's absolutely necessary.

Do: Ask for Feedback and Use it to Improve

As a manager, you're only human. You make mistakes like everyone else. If you want to build trust, try asking for feedback from your staff about what you can do better. Then, take their suggestions seriously and put them into action. This gives employees a voice and proves to the team that you take them seriously.

Don't: Place Blame and Take Credit

If you've ever worked for a boss who takes all of the credit but is quick to place blame, you know how it breeds mistrust. As an employer, you can avoid this in two ways. First, accept responsibility for your team. When a project fails, it's better to say "We didn't meet this goal" than "My employees failed" or "Employee X was responsible." Second, when you succeed, be sure to give credit to your workers for their contributions. When your employees see that you all succeed and fail together, they're more likely to trust you.

Do: Give Trust

As you're trying to build trust, remember that it's a two-way street — you want them to trust you, but you also need to trust them. The quickest method? Avoid micromanaging. When you assign a task, allow them to do it in their own way. Be available for guidance, but avoid offering constant feedback. This shows your trust and also sets your staff free to work their magic.

There's no question — it takes time and effort to build trust with your staff. By putting in the work, you can form a strong team that's both positive and high-performance.

Image courtesy of IndypendenZ at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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