Trust, how do you build it in the workplace?

To build trust in the workplace is critical to keep your promises.
Gaining someone’s trust is not easy, do not do anything that risks losing it.

In my last post, I was talking about empowerment.  I indicated that if you empower your employees, you need to trust them. But trust is a two-way street, you trust your employees, and they must trust you back.  How do you build that trust?

5 ways to build trust in the workplace

1.  Be honest and with integrity no matter the circumstances

There is no doubt that it is hard, to be honest, and act with integrity all the time.  Regardless of how hard or inconvenient it might be, it is critical for being a trustworthy person.  Consequently, admit when you don’t know and take responsibility for your failures.  

Be transparent, accept if you are wrong, and be open about your emotions.  For example, concede that you are angry about the outcome and ask for time for reflection before talking about the matter.  Showing vulnerability is not showing weakness but rather that you are human too.  

Also, always communicate your reasons to do something and list your expectations.  Do not hide information, be transparent instead.  

2.  Show respect and listen to what others have to say

The most basic form of respect is to listen.  Let people talk, focus on the person, and listen with the intention of understanding.  Ask for clarification to fully understand ideas, concerns, or feelings.  Then, respond with empathy and give feedback respectfully.  Show your team that you genuinely care about them. 

Another way to show respect is to be mindful of your demeanor.  Be aware of your reactions.  For example, don’t laugh or make fun of peoples’ comments.  Likewise, do not dismiss their ideas.  Your job is to coach and teach them.  Remember that not everybody learns or analyze things at the same pace or the same way.  Getting to know the person behind each employee, that is the best way to be able to help them.

3.  Think before you act

It takes time to build trust.  Therefore, the last thing you want to happen is to do something that breaks that trust.  Take time to think about how you are going to answer, make decisions carefully.  However, do not take too much time.  

Be consistent with your actions, treat everybody the same way, and act with integrity at all times. While making decisions, think about your values.  How do they align with your values?  Always, especially during hard times, respond as per your values.  

4.  Keep your promises

Once you tell someone that you will do something for them, do what you say you would.  Honor your commitments and don’t make promises you can’t keep.  If you meant to do something, do it.  If the outcome of your actions is not what the person is expecting to hear, say it anyway.  Be honest about the reasons and offer an alternative solution.

5.  Support your employees

Have their back at all times, never let anybody to bully or disrespect any person.  Your team needs to know that you are there for them always.  Create a trusted environment where they feel good about sharing their ideas and concerns.  As indicated before, a safe setting where they learn and test their opinion without fear of losing their jobs.  Provide feedback and guidance without judging but showing compassion and empathy.

Key Points to build confidence

Give trust to get trust, be the adult in the room, and extent the olive branch first.  Gaining the confidence of someone is not an easy task.  Therefore, take small steps by inviting the person to participate in a continuous improvement event, brainstorming session, or project with you.   

Model those behaviors that you want to promote by respecting everybody, keeping your word, and being transparent.  Participate with your team in the continuous improvement and problem-solving processes without trying to micro-manage.  Instead of controlling the situation, coach, and give constructive feedback.

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