A 2017 national survey conducted by Ultimate Software and the Center for Generational Kinetics (CGK) showed that 93% of employees stated that trust in their direct boss is “essential to staying satisfied at work” and half of those employees relayed that without trust in their managers, they don’t put forth their best work.
Gallup data from 2015 showed that managers account for 70% of variance in employee engagement levels, and disengaged employees are employees who leave the company and take talented employees with them.
Managers who have been trained and coached for leadership have the best chance of rallying their departments to do their best work. Unfortunately, all too often, individuals are dropped or promoted into positions without really knowing how to manage or lead teams due to an opening that needs to be filled or seniority. Inexperienced managers who have not been coached can have disastrous effects on a team.
Experienced managers who erode the trust their employees have in them can be just as devastating.
So what are some of the do’s and don’ts of building that trust?
- Push off the blame – a manager who throws his/her team under the proverbial bus for project challenges/failures will be hard-pressed to gain (or regain) any employee trust. Recognize the part you may have played in lack of teamwork or organization.
- Take all the credit – Nothing will push away employees faster than a manager who accepts accolades for work he or she didn’t actually do.
- Make promises – If you don’t have final authority on decisions, having a promise fall through (salary adjustments, promotions, bonuses) doesn’t lend itself to credibility.
- Gossip – managers who overshare about their colleagues or other subordinates will usually instantly affect employee relations, leaving their own team wondering what this manager may be sharing about them.
- Micromanage – if you have professionals working for you who are comfortable with their roles, let them do what you hired them to do. Lead, don’t manage.
And what CAN a manager do?
- Be honest – If you don’t have all of the answers, don’t be afraid to say so. Be straightforward and respectful. Have those hard conversations with employees whose performance level needs improvement.
- Apologize – If you make a mistake, admit it and whenever possible, make it right.
- Show interest – Taking a personal interest in their employees, their hobbies, and their goals, can go a long way toward building a relationship of trust with the team.
- REALLY listen and Act – When your employees are dealing with obstacles at work, listen and ask questions to identify the problems you can tackle and block at a higher level so they can move forward.
- Be responsive – Answering your employee’s emails, texts, and voicemails in a timely manner can be crucial to developing confidence among your employees that you have their back, and that you will not be an obstacle to their ability to do their jobs.
- Roll up your sleeves – the team has to stay late to complete a project? Watching a manager walk out the door as the rest of the team prepares to dive in can be a huge hit to morale.
- Check in – regularly scheduled (and kept) weekly or biweekly meetings will let you keep in touch with your team, talk about career goals, and help you to be aware of any issues before they escalate.
Employees are generally looking for a supportive leader, not just a “boss,” and will stand behind a leader they trust. If employees don’t trust the one who is supposed to lead them, they will look elsewhere for opportunities and take all of their talent and knowledge to benefit someone else.
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