Whether in your personal or professional life, establishing a solid foundation of trust is key in ensuring a long lasting and successful relationship. Actions which prove to your team that you practice what you preach are far more effective than simply giving promises and assurances when it comes to building those relationships in which honesty and integrity are prevalent.
Be the Example
Making certain that your words line up with your actions is a vital component in developing trust with your employees. If there is a significant disconnect between what a manager says and what they do, skepticism and wariness often ensue, tainting that foundation of trust.
Let’s say there is a tight deadline that requires all hands on deck. You expect your employees to work non-stop on the deliverable, even working overtime if necessary to ensure the client is satisfied. Rather than barking orders, work with them to ensure the job gets done. Getting down in the trenches and showing your employees that you are willing to work just as hard as they are will not only strengthen that level of trust, but can help promote productivity and engagement.
Part of leading by example and “practicing what you preach” is making certain that you follow through. If you cannot commit to something, even the most well intentioned promise means nothing if you cannot successfully act on it. Whether the action is something as simple as answering a question or looking for a resource, or helping your employee complete a project or working towards a professional goal, making certain that you maintain your commitments will prove your integrity.
Following through is certainly a type of consistency, but this concept is far more outreaching than simply applying your policies and behaviors regularly. It is vital to the success of your team as a whole that you treat every individual in a fair and consistent manner. Inconsistent treatment including giving favors, providing leniency, having favorites, and nonchalantly enforcing policies are trust-building killers. All employees observe inconsistencies, and regardless if the observation is from an employee who is receiving or being excluded from the treatment or behavior, the observation of contradictions can put your honesty into question.
Building trust takes hard work. It isn’t something that is earned overnight, and is a relationship factor that needs to be nurtured and maintained over time. Focus this week on taking an honest evaluation of the honesty you have with each employee in your team. Are there areas for improvement? What steps can you take to help strengthen those levels of trust?