A recent article in Forbes cited research that indicated 45% of employees say “lack of trust in leadership is the biggest issue in work performance.” Building trust is an essential part of being an effective leader. Trust facilitates a work environment where people are not afraid to express their ideas. It enables people to support a leader’s decision even though they might have reservations. It allows leaders to have candid conversations about performance without creating angst. And according to Forbes, it leads to better employee performance.
As organizations change or new staff is added, the need to earn employees trust arises time and time again. Building trust takes time and must be reinforced daily through thoughtful words and consistent actions. So what can leaders do to earn their employee’s trust? Here’s a few suggestions:
- Keep promises, walk the talk
- Be ethical, fair and equitable
- Give credit where credit is due
- Communicate openly and honestly
- Take a genuine interest in employees and their success
- Have the courage to do the right thing
It sounds simple but situations and circumstances constantly arise that will test a leaders resolve in these areas. Most leaders don’t set out to break promises or be unfair but can easily find themselves in a bad spot by failing to recognize damaging behaviors such as playing favorites, letting politics drive decision-making or not communicating often enough thus allowing the grapevine to become an employee’s primary source of information. Building and maintaining trust is a 24/7 job.
Through their words or actions, leaders make choices everyday that either strengthens trust or destroys it. If they want to be an effective leader, it is incumbent on them to choose wisely.