Building Trust With Your Team: A Guide

Having a significant connection with individual team members as a business owner or manager can be tricky when you have a large team of staff, most of which you may not even physically see, or perhaps some of which work remotely.

However, building trust doesn’t mean you have to spend time with each other every day.

Trust can be established even if you and your employees have never met. It’s more about your reputation and the way you uphold yourself within the organization. Whether it’s through internal communication, speaking in person, or being open about the information shared about you with your employees, a more trusting relationship can be established.

Prove Your Worth

You may think that as a business professional with impressive acumen and a wealth of knowledge and/or education behind you, you don’t need to prove yourself to anyone. However, in business, it’s simply not enough to know that you’re worth someone’s time and that you have what it takes to lead a business – you need to show it.

In the same way you would pitch your business’s worth to consumers, investors or partners, your employees need to know that they can trust you in that way, too. Having your credentials known or displayed is one way to encourage a better understanding between you and your team – think of it as a form of resume available to your workforce.

If you have relevant certifications, publicize them. Take further training courses such as Six Sigma Yellow Belt Training and Certification to establish a better understanding of business, and to show your team that you are constantly learning and evolving, for the benefit of the business (and for their benefit, too).

A good way to share your credentials is through an ‘about me’ page on your business website. If you’re the head of the business or the face of the company, this is not only a fantastic opportunity for consumers to get to know you more personally but also a way for employees to learn more about you. This is particularly prudent for those candidates considering applying for a job within your company, and who therefore will browse your website beforehand.

This way, employees may feel as though they trust your business experience even if they have never met you.

Be a Leader, Not a Boss

To be a symbol of trust, you need to inspire your team. Trust is built more easily when you are presented as a figure who cares about workplace evolution and betterment. Lead by doing and set an example that the workforce not only can easily follow but an example they want to follow.

You want to be an individual your workforce looks up to, someone who they turn to for guidance on how to improve themselves. You don’t want to be the strict boss who everyone avoids when they enter a room, hastening to avoid eye contact.

You’re Human, After All

It’s easier for a person to trust another when they show their vulnerabilities and admit their mistakes. In order to be better trusted by your team, show that you don’t believe that you’re any different from them – you just have a higher position.

A key way of exploring this is by admitting your mistakes. This is bound to happen in business from time to time, whether it’s a minor internal error or a large one. As a business owner or leader, you should never play the blame game or wriggle out of accepting any responsibility for mistakes. This can breed distrust between you and your employees.

Likewise, if mistakes are made by your team and you are responsible for solving the problem, don’t be quick to discipline team members; that’s what a boss would do, not a leader.

Instead, show your workforce where they went wrong, and how to do better next time. Don’t just tell them to do better.

Be Completely Transparent

Trust means having nothing to hide. A business relationship is still a relationship, which means you should be open and honest in everything you do. This doesn’t mean you have to share absolutely everything with your team – after all, a manager has a lot more responsibilities than team members, and they don’t need to be informed about the detailed ins and outs of the business – but update your team regularly on anything which concerns them.

Don’t dismiss inquiries or questions; be happy and ready to answer any query your team has. Team meetings are great opportunities for this, as the rest of the team can bear witness to you handling questions and queries efficiently, and therefore trust that you’re open to communication.

Always Do What You Say You’re Going to Do

It could be something minor, or something on a large scale. No matter the size, ensure you fulfill what needs to be done. If an employee approaches you with a problem and you assure them you will sort it, make sure you do so.

This is particularly prudent for the daily working environment your team operates within. If something is affecting their day to day lives, such as a faulty light or an uncomfortable chair, and they trust you enough to approach you about it, don’t neglect their trust.

It doesn’t mean you have to fix a chair or a light directly; often, it can be delegating it to the right person to resolve the matter. The fact that you found the right person to sort the problem is enough to maintain that trust.

It doesn’t matter if your hectic schedule means you’re too busy to do it immediately, as long as you do it in the end. Continually saying that you’ll do something which you never do only builds a negative reputation of your being a person who never fulfills their promises.

Encourage Conversation

Set time aside to check in with your employees. Ask them how they’re doing, how they’re feeling and whether anything can be improved for them. This doesn’t just mean directly regarding their workload; keep tabs on your employees’ mental health and working motivation. Make sure they’re comfortable and happy, and they’ll always trust that you want the best for them.

To Conclude

Building and maintain trust is about running your business in a transparent and admirable way. It’s basically about being a respectable and kind person and the sort of person your team members want to trust. Speak and share openly, be kind, take the time to listen, find efficient solutions to problems and lead by example. The trust will follow.

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Tanveer Naseer is an award-winning and internationally-acclaimed leadership writer and keynote speaker. He is also the Principal and Founder of Tanveer Naseer Leadership, a leadership coaching firm that works with executives and managers to help them develop practical leadership and team-building competencies to guide organizational growth and development. Tanveer’s writings and insights on leadership and workplace interactions have been featured in a number of prominent media and organization publications, including Forbes, Fast Company, Inc Magazine, Canada’s national newspaper “The Globe and Mail”, The Economist Executive Education Navigator, and the Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center.

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