You’ve likely heard some variation of the saying, “Trust is earned,” frequently uttered by someone who has difficulty trusting anyone. A major element of effective team building is the ability to let go of the need to control your employees and allow them to shine on their own. It’s more effective and uplifting to start out with a statement like, “I trust you implicitly,” which shows people that you value them for who they are, rather than requiring them to pass some arbitrary worthiness test.
Our workplaces are often set up to mistrust people by assuming that they’ll mess up in some way and then berating them when they inevitably do. This approach is reactive and counterproductive because it focuses on negative behaviors and sets people up for failure instead of helping them succeed. Luckily, there’s a tool at your disposal that will help you trust your employees from the very beginning, it’s called trusting them. Here are some ideas to help you trust more easily in the workplace:
- Assume people are doing their best.
- Praise positive behaviors instead of focusing on the negative.
- Look for ways to help people learn and grow.
- Find out what people love doing and let them do it.
- Communicate openly and frequently. This means two-way communication, not just you talking.
- Have an ongoing dialogue with employees and ask them for their feedback individually and collectively.
- Don’t create or keep secrets.
- Assume that people aren’t out to get you or make you look bad.
- Let go of the need to control employees.
- Treat people as if they’re smart and knowledgeable like you.
- If you have difficulty trusting people at work then it’s likely the same is happening in your personal life, work on improving that dynamic.
- Let others help you.
- Implement training that helps people learn how to trust each other.
- Set a positive example by trusting people.
Try these ideas and you’ll be on your way to building a workplace where people believe in each other. Remember that trust isn’t earned, it’s always there for you to enjoy if you choose to do so. When you trust your employees they’ll be more likely to do the same for you and others. What will you do to increase trust in your workplace?