Productive work relationships are based on trust. An environment of trust carries with it an implicit message that you have each other’s best interests in mind, clearing the way for employees to accept criticism and even anger from their manager. They know deep down that the boss really means to help. Managers need to be proactive and create an environment of trust apparent to all, but how do we do that.
Ease up on Lecturing – To ensure that employees will make good decisions, managers often begin to lecture. If you reflect on this, you will soon realize that lecturing and telling your employees what to do implies that you do not have faith in their decision-making abilities. This can result in their becoming defensive. In addition, the employees can lose faith in their own confidence to make decisions. If people do not have faith in themselves, then the manager’s faith in them decreases even more and the lecturing begins again.
Listening to Learn – Listening to learn and valuing people’s feelings and ideas is what promotes the ability of managers to effectively communicate with and influence their staff. Listening to learn means not inserting your opinion and not judging what the person says while he or she is speaking. For most managers, their first reaction is to evaluate the employee from their own point of view and then approve or disapprove of what the person says. This is listening autobiographically. It shuts down the employee’s self-confidence, initiative and open communication. An easy strategy for replacing this tendency of listening autobiographically is to cultivate the habit of listening to learn.
A manager who listens well acknowledges employees’ feelings and opinions. A simple “Talk to me about it” is an effective start to dialogue. Just use the most effective sales principle: Inquiry precedes advocacy. In other words, listen before you talk. When you feel a temptation to interrupt, redirect that impulse by thinking of the following question: “Will I be more effective if I listen first?”
Working Smarter – Many people often say, “If I want something done right I have to do it myself.” Yet effective managers know that delegation of tasks is essential for building trust in the workplace. When you hold onto tasks and don’t delegate, you deprive your employees of an opportunity to advance their skills. Accept the fact that growth comes through struggle. Babying your employees hinders their professional development and implies that you don’t have faith in them. Focus on treating your staff as if they are who, how, and what you would like them to be. Treating people as if they are responsible and empowered increases their chances of becoming so.
Once the employee completes a task, the objective should be to focus on progress rather than on perfection. If the result does not meet your expectations, you can still find something positive to comment on while helping the employee understand what the initial expectations are. This is far more effective than comments that foster guilt or a sense of failure. A positive approach prompts an incentive for the task-in contrast to criticizing, which provides a disincentive.
Without trust in the workplace, communication and teamwork will erode. Additionally, morale will decrease while turnover will rise. However, by using these three strategies, you can build your employees’ trust in management, thereby making their workplace an environment filled with innovation, creativity and ultimately higher profits for all.
Leaders with the most impact are those who can build and successfully manage great teams. Every day, we help our clients and colleagues achieve their highest levels of professional presence and personal effectiveness. That includes everyone on the ladder, from company presidents to project managers, to staff members. Contact us at 800-282-3374 to find out how we can help you impact your own productivity and the productivity of your entire organization.