Do you want to be an engaging leader and reap the many benefits of a highly engaged team? Yes? Then, building trust should be your #1 priority.
Building trust is a line manager responsibility. Of course, the culture of the organisation is important and senior management need to consider how they commit to creating a working environment where people feel trusted. However, this is not within your control. What you do have some control over is the culture within your team.
By building trust in your team and giving everything to maintain it, you will be making the best contribution possible to building a wider culture of trust in the organisation.
Why is building trust in the team so important?
In an earlier article, I wrote about how employees are more heavily influenced by what is closer to them at work. That is, they are more influenced by team culture than by organisational culture. Their line manager has a direct, every day influence on how they feel at work.
In fact, many employees will interpret large parts of overall company culture by what they see in their team. So, if a person feels valued in the team, s/he is more likely to feel that s/he is valued by the organisation. It’s the same for trust. Feel trusted in the team, feel trusted by the organisation.
The team or line manager is a powerful position.
Techniques for building trust in your team.
There are many actions you can take to build trust with your team. Here are some actions and techniques I recommend when building trust:
- Building trust is a question of character and intention
Many people feel that they can build trust by sharpening their communication skills and being a bit smoother. They could not be more mistaken. Trust is nothing to do with smooth communication skills. It is about your character as a leader and your intentions.
People see through smooth communications and sharp suits. People are smart.
Your character and intentions will be demonstrated through all your actions. So, take your time to build trust. Do it over a longer period of time by looking after and believing in your team.
- Believe in your team
As I finished the first point, building trust is about believing in your team. You should establish a team culture of high expectations but also based on the fact that you completely believe in your team’s ability to meet these expectations.
- Develop your team
Many employees crave development. They want to do their job as best they can and to be seen as a highly skilled employee. Identify projects and activities your team members can participate in to develop their skills and knowledge of the organisation. Development is not all about training courses. In fact, many employees really appreciate the opportunity to gain experience that will stand them in good stead come the next promotion opportunity.
- Act with integrity and authenticity
People like people. We all like to deal with people who we can see as themselves and who do not make it difficult for us by acting with integrity. So, make a commitment to be authentic and show your team members that you are worthy of their trust. Let them know that their trust in you is a valuable commodity that you are prepared to work to maintain.
Everyone likes a little adventure in their lives. A job with no adventure where employees are simply there to turn the wheels is a dull place to be. How then can a company or manager expect motivation to be high? Or, productivity?
Instil a little adventure by encouraging your team members to bring their experience, skills and knowledge to the table and be creative in improving job processes, efficiencies, quality. Obviously, the work still needs done while this is happening so agree how creativity can happen.
- Protect your team
We all like to feel safe at work. We do not want to be exposed to threat from our own manager or those above him/her.
- Your team members will really appreciate the protection you can give them to allow them to do their jobs to the best of their ability and be innovative. Place yourself between your team and the rest of the organisation, particularly management, so that anything negative has to come through you first and not directly to the team.
- Also, protect your people in the team environment. Manage conflict by discouraging any blame culture behaviours arising. Encourage the team to take ownership of each other’s work, creativity and possibly mistakes arising from such innovation (mistake will happen). Rather than point the finger, start the search for solutions immediately.