By Anthony T. Eaton
Do your employees trust you? Ask yourself 6 questions. Because the employee manager relationship tends to come with distrust from the employee to begin with, it is up to the leader to establish, build and maintain trust from the employee.
To determine if your employees trust you ask yourself these six questions.
Are you leading by example?
Leaders are constantly being watched and evaluated by employees on how well they set the example for what they expect. Words are not enough; there must be action behind them. If your actions do not support your words then those words are useless.
Do you show your vulnerability?
We are all vulnerable, just because you are a leader and people look to you as such doesn’t mean you are perfect or infallible. Employees want to see the human and vulnerable side of leaders, knowing that they make mistakes and face the same challenges as the rest of us.
Showing that side of yourself will build trust because employees will be more likely to open up and show their own humanness and less likely to cover up mistakes or hold things inside, but if you don’t, and you hide your true self and cover things up, you can expect that employees will do the same.
Are you honest and transparent?
It can be difficult for leaders to navigate honesty and transparency in business because often time there are things they want to share but can’t. In those cases explaining that you can’t share but will when you can will go a long way.
Any time you hold information back or outright lie about it you are destroying any trust that exists and making it very hard to establish trust going forward.
Do you know your employees?
Are they married, single, have a partner, kids, pets? Do you know what they do when they are not at work, what their hobbies or interests are?
To build real trust with someone you have to know them, and when it comes to your employees you need to know them beyond the work they do for the organization.
Taking some time to get to know who your employees are as individuals and then asking them about things like their family or interests will not only help you to build trust, but it will also build a connection, and employees that are connected are less likely to leave.
Are you asking for feedback?
We all need it and most of us want it, leaders included. Give your employees the opportunity to provide you with feedback, not only on the work they do and how it gets done, but also on you as a leader.
There are numerous opportunities to do this; I am a proponent of regular one on ones with employees which gives you the opportunity to ask them how you are doing and if there is anything you should do different.
Remember though, if you are going to ask for it, you have to be willing to accept it.
Are you grateful?
If you think it is enough that your employees take home a paycheck your wrong and you are missing a huge opportunity to build engagement and increase performance.
We all want to know we are doing a good job, but unfortunately, it is human nature to point out mistakes and failures faster than it is to call out success. A simple thank you is a great start; thanks for your effort, your dedication, showing up, doing a good job etc. Beyond that, there are a lot of other things leaders can do as well, a handwritten note, public recognition, lunch etc.
Keep this in mind
The old saying that it takes a lifetime to build trust and a minute to destroy it holds true to leadership as well. The sheer nature of any relationship where one person has authority or power over another automatically sets the stage for distrust.
Leaders must work harder and do more to gain the trust of their employees than ever before if they want to keep them. Employees have more options than ever before and will continue to look for those things they desire, including trust