How can I build more trust with my employees?
Small business owners are familiar with juggling multiple tasks, from marketing to seeking opportunities for growth. Business owners might be so focused on the challenges of running their business that they don’t focus on a critical resource at their disposal – their employees.
An employee who trusts and respects their employer is more likely to be loyal, dedicated and passionate about their work. Whereas, a poor relationship with employees can lead to minimum work produced.
Trust takes time and effort to earn and build. Here are a few tips as to how a small business owner can gain and maintain the trust of their employees.
Be open and honest
Make sure that your team are aware of any changes that may impact their work. Smaller businesses have a more significant advantage in this respect. It’s easier to inform staff of the bigger picture, whereas employees in large corporations may have little to no personal contact with business owners. Make sure you speak to employees, not at them. Keep an open-door policy and don’t be afraid to help staff with their work when they need guidance or advice.
Be more than just your job title
Make sure your staff see you as a human being first and a manager second. Always treat them as individuals rather than as a resource performing a particular role. They will reciprocate. When your team refers to you by name rather than ‘my manager’ or ‘the boss’, it’s a sign you’re getting it right.
Place trust in your employees
You may feel out of your comfort zone, but trusting an employee to take control of a task and see it through will improve their perception of you. This tactic can foster a closer working relationship with your team, building two-way trust.
An inconsistent approach, in any context, creates uncertainty. Keep your word when you promise something and keep reviews and meetings regularly. As a manager, trust can be earnt by communicating with employees regularly, whether it’s about work performance or how well the organisation is doing overall. Your reliability will serve to motivate staff.
Get to know your employees
Find out what is most important to your employees. Perhaps in the context of the role they perform, their work-life balance or in a broader context. Find out how staff prefer to receive feedback and how they prefer to communicate. Above all, when you ask a question, listen carefully to their answer. This is the definition of meaningful dialogue and will go a long way towards building their trust and respect for you.
Personal lives are important, and when things aren’t going so well outside of work, it can have a significant impact on a team member’s performance at work. It’s vital to ensure that your people are getting the emotional support they need within the work environment. Building your employees up when they’re low can be beneficial. However, stay within their comfort zone and avoid overstepping in this regard. Some people will prefer privacy over support.
Acknowledging your own errors will encourage employees to feel more comfortable in recognising their own. Being transparent about being fallible encourages honesty and accountability. Use processes such as project evaluation, examining positives, negatives and areas that require changing. This will encourage employees to feel comfortable about talking objectively about what went well and the lessons they’ve learnt.
Lead by example
Treat your employees in the same way you’d expect them to treat you. When you say you’re going to do something, make sure you do it and stick by the values and work ethic you’re promoting.
A cohesive team built on trust can be an advantageous asset to your business and can have a hugely positive impact on growth and your customers’ perception of your business.