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5 tips for building trust with your employees

Tuesday, April 12, 2016 - 18:49

By Alison Vidotto

Trust is a core element to effective leadership. If you can’t instil trust in those around you then it’s not going to be easy for them to view you as an effective leader. It is difficult to have confidence and belief in someone we don’t trust, particularly in challenging times. A strong leader who is seen as trustworthy will garner the loyalty and support of their team.

So, do you have the trust of your employees? Would they stay with you through uncertain times or would they be off looking for another position? Do they believe that you will do what it takes to turn things around? Employees need to have confidence in your abilities as a leader; that is what will inspire and motivate them. That confidence is based on trust.

So how do we build trust with our employees? The following tips will help:

Be Truthful

A sure fire way to lose the trust of your team is to be dishonest. If you want them to believe you then you need to be honest and open with your communication. Always be honest, even if the conversation is difficult and you’re imparting negative information. Most people would prefer to hear a negative truth than a positive lie. It doesn’t take long for inaccuracies between what you say and what you do to come to the surface. It is very difficult to trust and respect someone if we can’t believe what they tell us.

Use Empathy

Simply put, empathy is the ability to put ourselves in another person’s shoes. We see things from their perspective. When you take the time to consider their motives and feelings it is easy to build rapport and trust. We all like to feel acknowledged and understood.

Your ability to lead hinges on the trust your employees place in you. Alison Vidotto offers some useful advice on how to build that trust.

Keep Your Word

If you say you are going to do something, do it. Actions really do speak louder than words. People are not silly, they will observe your behaviour and they will soon see that you say one thing and do another. It is difficult to build trust when you can’t be believed. Lead by example.

Own Your Mistakes

When you can openly tell your employees that you have made a mistake they will appreciate your honesty. Share the mistake you made, and how you will address it. This behaviour will go a long way in building trust and credibility. It will also teach them that we all make mistakes; it is a part of the human condition.  

Show Gratitude

We all like to be acknowledged for a job well done. Observe your staff members; catch them doing a great job and publicly acknowledge their good work. A little gratitude goes a long way in building trust in the leader and positive engagement in the workplace culture.  

Building trust with your team does not happen overnight, it requires an ongoing, consistent application of honest communication and accountability.

Alison Vidotto is an award winning author, professional speaker, CEO of Vidotto Group, leadership trainer and Founder and Managing Director of the Australian Charity for the Children of Vietnam. 

AIM's Leading with Emotional Intelligence short course teaches you to apply emotional intelligence through a range of tools and techniques. By understanding the science behind communication, you will find new ways to harness your own emotions and those of others – improve decision-making, behaviour and performance as a result.