3 steps to boost trust within teams

Managers and their teams misunderstand each other far too often.

It’s all too common that managers struggle to get their team to understand what their targets or objective were, and struggle to get these executed on as agreed. They blame the team and not themselves.

One of the reasons employees don’t support their managers is simple: they lack trust in them, what they are asking them to do, the direction they are taking the team. Trust is always the foundation for healthy relationships with your team. Without this foundation in place it’s almost impossible to achieve anything as a team.

According to the KENEXA High Performance Institute only 48% of employees trust management. This can present a range of challenges for a team; from increased turnover to low employee engagement and poor wellbeing at work.

How can you create trust within a team?

Trust is built up over time, it’s not something that happens overnight. Much of it comes down to the manager’s ability to listen to their employees, giving recognition and praise as well as feedback. To build trust, it’s also important to follow through on what you say you’ll do and connect to your direct reports as people. It’s really not that difficult!

3 steps to boost trust within teams…

Get to know what drives your team

Listening and understanding is key to build trust in a team. Stephen R Covey makes it clear in his book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” that if you want to communicate effectively; you need to seek first to understand, and then you can be understood. Many managers don’t practice this, because they are too busy communicating and focusing on what they and the business want!

The KENEXA report states that organisations and teams that create strong systems to capture employee feedback and help employees to improve performance can improve trust levels by more than 15%.

Let your team make mistakes

Give your team room to learn and grow through mistakes. If your people are not making mistakes, they aren’t trying to learn anything new. With a good safety net in place, employees should be encouraged to take risks, challenge existing ways of doing things, and to fail safely.

By reviewing each week through a weekly update or team meeting, you can make small improvements to broken processes that over time add up to significant improvements.

Praise helps improve your team’s confidence and helps them shake off part of the illusion that they’re not working effectively, which helps improve productivity.

Praise also works really well when you want to build trust, but remember to be sincere, specific, and do it public when that’s appropriate. As a manager it makes good business sense to focus on these three areas to get the foundation for trust in place. Best of all, it costs nothing to do the above – just a change of mindset.

Remember: the old saying “people quit their bosses, not their jobs” is true. Building trust always begins with managers who want to understand their employees, allow them to mistakes and give them praise for their efforts and results.

Alan Wanders is Growth Manager at Motivii

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