Have you heard that 45% of employees say lack of trust in leadership is the biggest issue affecting their work performance?
Without trust in a leader, team members usually become disengaged. Morale goes down, performance drops sharply, team spirit disappears, and team goals and objectives are less likely to be achieved.
If you’re a leader struggling with some or all of these issues in your team, there’s good news for you.
While there are many beneficial reasons for you to inspire trust in your team members, a recent study also discovered that with trust in a leader, team members go the extra mile in doing their jobs.
Their performance shoots up, they become loyal, they are reluctant to leave the team, and they contribute more to the team’s success.
Really, to get the best out of your team, go out of your way to inspire trust in them. But what if you’ve no clue how to go about it?
Here are 7 practical steps you can take to inspire trust in your team members:
1. Get to Know Each Person on Your Team
One step to inspiring trust in your team is to know each person on your team, one on one. And you can make this happen by having a relationship with each of them.
As a leader, you can’t afford to keep your team at arm’s length, and each person on your team should not be a stranger to you.
Once you have a relationship with them, you will have benefits that make it easier for you to inspire trust.
Start by showing genuine interest in their life and well-being, plus who they are as a person, their goals, dreams, and even their interests outside work.
Take time to remember names and other details, including their likes, dislikes, hobbies, strengths, weaknesses, etc. All these will help you understand each person better.
Don’t forget to share information about yourself too. From time to time, arrange to spend time with your team outside of work so they can also get to know you.
Always try to celebrate their important events and occasions with them, e.g., birthdays, wedding anniversaries, etc.
2. Always Tell the Truth
As the saying goes, honesty is the best policy. You should tell the truth all the time. Don’t stretch it, and don’t embellish it. But also remember to use tact when necessary.
Telling the truth means you’re honest enough to share information, knowledge, and even numbers in a clear and straightforward manner. Even when it’s bad news, being honest is still your best bet.
Telling the truth also means you’re honest enough to admit your mistakes instead of trying to bluff your way through.
This helps your team to see you as a real person with flaws. It also helps you lead by example.
By being honest, your team will begin to see you as a person of integrity who is open and transparent in everything, and this can inspire them to trust you.
3. Make Listening a Habit
Listening to your team is another way to demonstrate that you care for them. Always try to listen without interrupting.
To create an environment that’s conducive to listening, try to remove as many distractions as possible.
For you to make listening to a habit, you should have an open-door policy so that each person on your team can easily come to you with their concerns, questions, observations, and feedback.
You can also encourage suggestions, constructive criticism, and even negative feedback from your team. If necessary, put a system in place for anonymous feedback if this will make them more comfortable.
You should also learn how to pick up on non-verbal cues and messages like body language and facial expressions.
4. Share Credit and Accept Blame
To inspire trust in your team, you must be able to share the credit when your team wins. At the same time, you should take the blame and accept responsibility when the team messes up.
Anytime the team achieves a goal or scores a big win, you can’t afford to behave as if you alone made it happen. Go out of your way to thank each person on your team for their contribution.
You should also let them know that it couldn’t have been done without them. This boosts their morale and motivates them to do even more.
On the other hand, things may go wrong once in a while. As the leader, you must own up and take responsibility when this happens. Don’t dodge or make excuses. Avoid pointing fingers or playing the blame game.
When you take the blame, you convince your team that everyone is in this together, and as their leader, you have their back. This helps to reassure them and goes a long way to inspire trust.
5. Keep Your Promises, No Matter What
Always remember that your team members are watching and taking note of everything you say or do. Nothing destroys trust faster than making empty promises or failing to keep your word.
If you’re not sure about something, don’t make any promises. Instead, take your time and think about it. But when you do keep your promises, you’ll find it easier to inspire trust in your team.
6. Lead By Example
Lead by example and model behaviors that you want to see in your team.
As a leader, you’re supposed to be a role model that your team looks up to. Don’t say one thing and do another.
Identify desired behavior that you want from your team members and start modeling it for them. Remember that action speaks louder than words.
If you want your team to be time conscious, you should be time conscious. If you want your team to work through the weekend, you should also work through the weekend.
This convinces your team that you won’t ask them to do only what you want.
7. Be Fair to Your Team
To inspire trust in your team, it’s important to treat each person on your team fairly.
Don’t discriminate among your team members, and don’t play favorites. No person on your team should have special status or privileges that do not apply to others.
As a leader, avoid double standards and ensure you’re just and fair in all actions and decisions concerning each person on your team. This will go a long way to inspire their trust.
Remember that trust doesn’t happen overnight.
To inspire trust in your team members, you must be consistent in all the steps you’re taking. When you’re consistent, your team members are more likely to believe you and trust you.
According to Stephen M.R. Covey, trust is not a soft social virtue but a hard economic driver for every organization.
How Do You Inspire Trust in Your Team?
If you have ideas about inspiring trust that might be helpful to readers, share them in the comments section below. Thanks!
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