According to 2013 research, if you want to lay solid groundwork for your company, you must take time to nurture and support your workers.
Interaction Associates surveyed 290 companies and 399 employees to create its Building Trust 2013 report. According to the firm's research, "trust originates from the tone at the top...leaders walking the walk directly affects whether or not employees deepen their engagement and involvement." Employee trust had a "profound impact on business results and performance."
Here are 8 ways to start rebuilding and strengthening employee confidence in you.
8 Tips for Gaining, and Keeping, Employee Trust
- Don't underestimate their powers of observation.
Employees notice everything. Even if they act nonchalant or uninterested, employees are watching your every move. If you fail to pick up on their subtle hints, they will begin to see you as a disconnected boss who doesn't understand them.
- Be consistent.
When you address the group, you speak positively and reinforce the company's values. What about when you're face-to-face with an employee who is struggling to understand the company's direction? Does a bad day translate into yelling, isolation, and pessimism? Employees notice day-to-day flip-flopping and chalk it up to inauthenticity. Again, though they may not show it, employees see inconsistency and remember it.
- Keep your promises.
You might be in the habit of making sweeping promises when the future looks bright, then quietly dismantling them when the tide changes. Employees don't trust managers who let their promises fall through, whether those commitments involve holiday bonuses or company growth projections.
- Don't throw around blame.
Sometimes holding an employee accountable can escalate out of control and become an opportunity to use an individual as a symbol for a larger failure. If you tend to call out individual employees for department or company-wide mistakes, you will quickly lose credibility.
- Own up to your mistakes.
The first thing you should do to regain employee confidence is be completely transparent with them. From executive coach Dr. Barbara Schwarck: "Losing the confidence or trust of your employees can be devastating; but, it's not the end. You can reopen the door to trust by acknowledging your shortcomings." Show your employees that you are completely aware of your errors, and that you regret them. They will respect your honesty.
- Spend time with employees one-on-one.
Managers are often baffled by how different their employees seem in person versus how they behave in a large group. Listen to their feedback and give them a chance to be completely open with you. They will believe in change if they can view you as a fellow human instead of as an unstoppable and immutable administrative force.
- Be an example.
According to Sanjay Govil, Chairman of platformization and mobile products and services provider Infinite, "Instead of leading a team based on authority, managers should focus on leading by example. Managers should take the time to develop team confidence and share information on how individuals will benefit from the team's success." Lead by living out the attitude and work ethic you want to see in your team. Check yourself daily: are you leading by example, or falling back into old habits?
- Use employee feedback to make positive changes.
Be completely open to employee feedback and criticism. Listen to everything that's being said, no matter how harsh or off-base you may think it is. Use the most enlightening kernels of employee wisdom to lay the groundwork for the changes you want to make to your management style.
You can't afford to run a company without employee trust. Earning the respect of your employees is possible. Clear and open communication and being accountable and responsible are steps in the right direction.