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Strategies to help build trust in your team

These are the behaviours that smart leaders use to nurture trust at work. By Priya Prakasan

Lack of trust and increased fear can spell disaster for a leader and his/her team. It creates a toxic work environment that results in a host of other negatives—decreased productivity and performance, burnout, infighting, and ‘problem’ employees being just some of them. Leaders often don’t realise or don’t wish to realise that it’s their behaviour that’s causing some of these problems. Bad employees aren’t always to blame. So how do you create a positive atmosphere where employees enjoy coming to work and are highly motivated to put in their best? By instilling a culture of trust. And since actions always speak louder than words, here are five that help leaders do just that.

1. Show trust to build trust
If you want your team to adopt certain behaviours you need to display them yourself. You need to walk the talk. Trust is a two-way street. So if you want employees to trust you, you need to first trust them. Many leaders gloss over this step, not realising its importance. If you display mistrust, you will receive mistrust. Your behaviour influences how your employees perceive you. So put a premium on truth and honesty, and trust your employee unless proven otherwise. That is not to say you believe they are right all the time, just that they have something of value to contribute.

2. It’s okay to reveal your vulnerabilities
The best leaders view vulnerability as a strength and not a weakness. Leaders who have increased self-awareness recognise that showing/ addressing their weaknesses, failures, and doubts in front of their employees is a risk worth taking. It’s a combination of strength with vulnerability that people are drawn to. Candour and honesty on your part will go a long way towards helping the employee better understand you, build a rapport and form a trusting bond. Employees aren’t looking for perfect leaders; rather they seek and appreciate those who have integrity and the honesty to admit their failings and be human..

3. Don’t hold back on information
A sure shot way for leaders to kill trust is to not share information. Rethink your ‘need to know’ policy. Is your refusal to part with information (sometimes information employees already know from other sources) being seen as distrust by your employees? Open, candid communication is key to building a strong relationship and creating a culture of transparency that promotes effective collaboration.

4. Uphold your promises
Trust is a quality that needs to be earned. Your employees need to see you sincerely and consistently stand by your commitments and uphold your promises. After all it’s hard to trust someone who doesn’t keep his/her word. Employees who see leaders regularly trying to wriggle out of commitments, are highly unlikely to believe what they have to see. Your behaviour should be a matter of principle, a reflection of the kind of person you are.

5. Solicit feedback
As a leader employee feedback in an invaluable source of information that will help you be more effective and productive. It will also help you understand what changes need to be undertaken to improve the work environment, enhance team efficiency, communication, etc. Don’t let your ego come in the way of workplace improvement. Accept and appreciate the constructive criticism, even when it’s hard to hear. Implement it where necessary. By doing so you’re showing that you value their feedback and are open to communication and change.

Photograph: Freepik 

Categories:   Work Buzz

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