Picture a scenario where a manager is leading a group of people but doesn’t show them that they trust them enough do their work. Tension will abound, leading to stifled communication and the formation of silos in the organisation.
It is therefore imperative to not only trust employees but to show them that you do.
Here’s why it’s so important to demonstrate trust in the workplace.
It leads to an increase in productivity
According to research by the economics department at the University of Sheffield, trust and productivity go hand in hand. The researchers were able observe a rise in productivity in workplaces where there were high levels of trust between employers and employees.
It quickens decision making
In a trust filled environment, employees feel confident enough to make decisions even in the absence of their leaders. This means that work gets done faster. It also means that operations are not brought to a standstill unnecessarily.
It frees up the leaders
Delegation is one way leaders can free up their time in order to focus on other areas of the business or their own self development. Trust supports leaders in grooming and then letting employees take on varied tasks. In addition it will give employees an opportunity to learn and develop new skills.
It improves customer relations
Trust improves employee-customer relations and leads to higher customer satisfaction. Employees who are trusted are able to make quick decisions without having to navigate bureaucracies that might end up frustrating the customer.
Trust means that managers have the assurance that employees will deliver on their work and they give them the lee way and the resources to do just that.
There are several ways to demonstrate you trust your employees.
One of the first ways you can show that you trust your employees is by delegating responsibilities. The sense that they are trusted to lead and make certain decisions will in turn foster trust in themselves, their leaders and in the entire organisation.
Leaders should be sure to give employees enough support and training before delegating tasks to them. For instance if the boss delegates an important client presentation to a team member, said person should be given enough time to prepare, or opportunities to present to a group of peers before. This will ensure they do not feel like they are out of their depths come the big day.
Make promotions available
Unlike delegation, promotions are permanent. Employees will know that they are trusted when you give them the opportunity to move from one level in the organisation to the next.
However such moves can sometimes be hard to make without an investment in training of the employees. This calls for an understanding of where the employees see themselves in the future and offering specific trainings to help them get there.
Consider autonomy in the workplace
To show you trust your employees, involve them in decisions including those pertaining to their schedules.
Flexible schedules have become more and more common across the world and they allow employees to choose when they work and sometimes where they work from. While they might not be applicable for all industries, they are a good way to demonstrate trust.
Share more information
Perhaps the fastest way to show employees that you do not trust them is to keep them out of the communication loop. This harms trust in numerous ways; employees feel like they are not important enough to know what is going on, employees become disengaged and distracted, focusing on whether their job is safe rather than actually doing their work.
When leaders share information, they make employees feel like an integral part of the organisation. This information such as the businesses’ strategic direction and goals shouldn’t be left to only senior managers. It is good for everyone to know what they and what the organisation at large is striving to achieve.
In order to show you trust your employees encourage them to communicate with you as well. Ask their opinions and encourage them to share ideas. Don’t stop at only collecting this feedback.
Give serious consideration to their feedback. If viable, implement some of their solutions. You can only consider the advice of someone you trust after all.
Two-way communication can be sought through one-on-one meetings and through confidential methods like anonymous surveys.
Use mistakes as teaching moments
How you handle mistakes and failure will prove whether or not you trust your employees.
Trying new ways of doing things is how innovation happens. Sometimes it can also be how mistakes happen. People will only feel empowered enough to try new ways of doing things if they feel they have their leaders’ trust.
When mistakes do happen, leaders should exhibit trust by using them as moments for guidance and correction and not as punishable offences. This will encourage people to try again and to be honest enough to own up when they make a mistake.
Cultivate a culture of trust
Demonstrate that you trust your employees by actively working to create a culture of trust. Take an inventory of where the organisation lies by asking your employees either directly or anonymously if they trust you and or each other.
Supervisors and managers have a role to play in demonstrating trust. To make sure they are doing their part, trainings to address communication or management gaps that may be undermining trust should be carried out.
Creating a culture doesn’t happen overnight but the very act of striving to get it right, will show employees that you do trust them.
Trust is an intangible force that has far reaching effects in the organisation. When leaders show they trust employees, it fosters collaboration, wellbeing, and improves productivity.
Warren Buffet says this about trust in the workplace; “Trust is like the air we breathe. When it is present, nobody really notices. But when it’s absent, everybody notices.”
Through open communication, a change in culture and willingness to give employees more responsibility, you can show that you trust your employees.