Trust is just as important in workplace relationships as in personal relationships. Trust in leadership builds confidence, encourages creativity, and spurs loyalty among team colleagues.
Even though it's an intangible quality, as a leader, it's your job to help build trust among your team members. If team members are still determining whom to believe, it can cause negative feelings about their job, reduce productivity, or even increase employee resignation. But when employees can rely on each other and their leaders, confidence increases, productivity is boosted, and employees are more likely to stay on board.
Regardless of your leadership role, whether you're an agency owner or a team leader, your actions and words show employees you're trustworthy. These character traits are shifted to the company by default, which is why building trust as a leader is so important.
What is trust in the workplace, and what does it look like?
When employees have confidence in their leaders, they know their ideas are valued, their work is essential, and their leaders always have their best interests at heart. It also means they have a sense of psychological safety and can confidently do their work.
Trust isn't only important among colleagues. Building this type of culture affects relationships with clients as well. Clients need to know that they can believe in your company's leadership. They must rely on you to meet deliverables and deadlines with the expected quality.
Building trust in the workplace impacts your brand and how your clients view your relationship with them. If clients know they can have confidence in you and your employees, they'll be more likely to continue working with your company.
Why is trust important among colleagues?
A study by Google showed that the number one indicator of creativity in the workplace involved psychological safety or trust. Psychological safety fosters a sense of belonging, and employees are less likely to look for a new job when they feel they belong. When people are comfortable with their co-workers, they feel more confident about brainstorming new ideas and sharing their thoughts.
The importance of trust in leadership
Trust can feel like it is something that happens organically, and it is. However, trust among colleagues begins with the culture you create as a leader. When you, as a leader, meet expectations, keep your promises, and respect your employees, the sense of confidence trickles down to the rest of the workforce.
It permeates every aspect of your company as a whole, from the people who work behind the scenes to the sales team, all the way to the managers and CEOs. Employees want to work with dependable people; if leaders are not, you'll have to work hard to keep employees engaged. Clients also want to work with companies they can trust.
8 Ways to build trust within the team as a leader
While trust may feel like something that can't be measured, it can undoubtedly be improved. Changes will take time, but you can build stronger relationships with consistent work. Here are just a few steps to build trust as a leader among your colleagues.
Unclear communication results in many problems throughout the workplace, including creating doubt and uncertainty. To build trust in the workplace:
- Be sure you're communicating clearly.
- Ensure your employees know they can come to you with questions and respond to requests for additional information.
- Avoid communication overload by making sure your communication is clear and concise.
Nothing is more frustrating in a workplace than feeling like your leaders want one thing one day but something different the next. Being consistent as a leader helps inspire the confidence of your team. Sometimes, this means doing a better job of communicating between teams or managing projects.
If your expectations for your employees are unclear, employees don't know what you need. This can cause frustration and a lack of faith on both sides. Be clear with your expectations, and be sure you are communicating them with the entire team. Make sure everyone is on the same page, whether it's expectations regarding quality of work, deadlines, or even work hours.
Teamwork builds trust by helping employees grow relationships with each other. When everyone can contribute to a team, it helps foster a sense of belonging and increases confidence between individuals and teams. While some tasks are better suited for individuals, group projects are a great way to cross-pollinate ideas between departments and build rapport simultaneously.
Reward good behaviors and performance
Everyone wants to feel valued for the work they do. As a leader, it's your job to communicate with your team members when they've done a great job and show them you appreciate all their hard work.
Whether it's a financial bonus, a thoughtful email, well-earned time off, or something else, your employees will trust you more when they know you appreciate all their work.
No one is perfect, and even managers and those in leadership make mistakes sometimes. You're building trust as a leader when you accept responsibility for your errors and apologize when necessary. Shifting blame to someone else causes distrust among colleagues, so if you make a mistake, own up to it and try to do better next time.
One of the basic tenants of building relationships is simply doing what you say you'll do. If you've promised someone time off, a raise, or a promotion, do everything you can to make that happen. Those are big things, but the small things count too. Keeping your word will go miles in building solid relationships at work.
You can learn how to build trust in the workplace, just like any other skill. Stay consistent with your efforts, and soon you'll reap the rewards of a workplace culture of confidence and creativity.