As a leader, building trust might be your most important responsibility. This is because employees who have confidence in their leaders can move mountains and will be more engaged at work. Unfortunately, building trust can be difficult for many leaders, particularly if they operate in an industry not known for it (used car salesmen come to mind).
However, there are a few key steps that any leader can take to build trust within their teams. These include being transparent with information, demonstrating empathy and listening actively, showing support for team members, being fair, and admitting when you’ve made a mistake.
It’s also important to remember that people’s propensity to trust others can be influenced by their past experiences, social identity and their level of identification with in-groups. For instance, co-workers with similar backgrounds tend to trust each other more than those with different backgrounds. This can be due to factors like racial and ethnic similarities, vocation or perceived victimhood.
Lastly, it’s important to understand that trust is a two-way street and requires a mutual effort. For this reason, it’s critical for employees to relay their honest thoughts up and down the chain of command so that everyone is on the same page.
For more on how to build trust, check out this article from Forbes that provides nine simple ways you can become a more trustworthy leader. And if you need help diagnosing your own wobbles, try doing a trust diagnostic with a few recent interactions. building trust