My firm interviews thousands of candidates weekly and we hear the top reasons candidates are looking to leave their current employer. Relationship with their manager is among the most repetitive reasons.  

Just like any relationship, trust is at the core of a successful one...and that takes time to build. It doesn't happen overnight. It's an investment, but in today's economy where employees have options, it's a worth-while investment.   

Companies spend dollars on flashy perks like foosball tables, game rooms, unlimited beer and snacks. What they don't always do is invest time, which does equate to money, and is something employees are seeking, something that makes a genuine impact, something they may not be able to get elsewhere.  

It takes time to build a solid foundation, and once you have it, you have to keep building on it. Relationships are an emotional bank account you keep depositing into, and if you make one bad transaction, that account can empty very instantaneously. 

Building trust means leaders keep their word and doing things they say they'll do...and it starts with the little things. If a manager says they will help an employee with something, or schedule a meeting, they do it, they show up. Or they do something to help the employee without being asked to. It's managers recognizing employees publicly and giving them credit when due. It also means letting the light shine on their employee, even if the work was shared. Building someone up is the job of a manager. It doesn't mean you don't hold them accountable, it simply means you have EQ and know when people need a confidence boost.   

Trust happens when leaders let their guard down and are vulnerable, both personally and professionally. You can't expect employees to be open and share if you don't. It's a two-way street... and it's not talking about the amazing two-week vacation you just went on, but the struggles you're facing, admitting to mistakes and asking for help when needed. They want to know their boss is human.  

Start with the small things to show employees you care. Show them you're committed to their development. Employees need to know you have their back as a leader.  And most importantly, be consistent. Building trust isn't a one-week project. 

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