Trust is important in business, just as any other relationship. As a leader, it is your duty to build trust in your team, as this becomes the foundation upon which great communication, teamwork, and accomplishments are built. Without trust, you are simply heading a group of people who work together sometimes but spend more time trying to outdo each other, and the result is a failure. Without trust, you can be sure that resignations will be the norm rather than the exception, work will hardly be done on time or properly, engagement will almost be none existent, and productivity will most likely be a rumour. In short, you will be flogging a dead horse.
Trust is not natural. A great company culture helps in building trust but it is your job as a leader to ensure that there is trust within your own team. No amount of great culture will work if you do not cultivate the right team environment. Moreover, you could have the best talent on board but without trust, you will not be able to achieve anything.
So, why is trust important?
Trust ensures that team members stay committed to the ultimate goal and they, therefore, help one another in working towards the goal. Every team has challenges and obstacles and without commitment, it is hard to overcome them. Therefore, if you want to your team to stick to the ultimate goal, even when it seems impossible, you need to create an environment of trust.
Trust Facilitates Collaboration
It goes without saying that every member of the team has their strengths and weaknesses and a team survives by making use of all the skills on board and complementing all the weaknesses. However, in order for people to freely seek help from one another and truly hold together, they need to trust their team members. All the people within your team also need to know that they can freely share ideas without being victimized and that other team members will provide the support needed.
Trust Boosts Morale
It is the dream of every leader to be in charge of a team that does not need to be pushed in order to deliver. High staff morale yields good results, leading to great achievements for the entire team. However, morale is not something that always comes naturally. It helps to have trust within a team as members know that someone always has their back and this encourages them to be creative and to try and overcome barriers.
Decreases Staff Turnover
You have heard it time and again, most people quit their managers, not their jobs. It doesn’t matter how good the company culture is, if the team’s leadership is bad, no one will want to stay on board. A high staff turnover destabilizes the team and creates chaos. Therefore, to ensure that you are not always looking to recruit a new person every month, create an environment of trust where your employees can have confidence in you and your abilities.
Reduces Resistance to Change
In the dynamic world of business, change is inevitable. In order for the business to survive, it is imperative that it changes with the changing environment. However, in an environment that lacks trust, change is viewed with suspicion and people become resistant to change. If there is trust, you will comfortably be able to guide your team towards change and the result will be a team that is flexible and which easily adapts to change.
Creating an Environment of Trust
Communicate Actively and Openly
Mistrust emerges from a world where there is little or no communication, and things are communicated through the grapevine. In order to build trust, you need to actively communicate your vision to your subordinates and explain to them why it matters. Any changes must also be communicated clearly and in good time. Such communication will also make it easier for your employees to come to you freely whenever they need clarification on an issue. With mutual sharing of information and opinions, the team grows stronger as there is an environment of trust.
Encourage Mutual Feedback
Feedback is important as it helps employees know whether they are on the right track or not. By encouraging your employees to offer you feedback as well, you give them a chance to genuinely raise their concerns, and this creates an environment of trust. By giving feedback, you demonstrate that you are genuinely interested in the progress of your subordinates and this builds a cohesive team. Additionally, if you encourage them to share their feedback with you and you genuinely pay attention, you create an environment where employees can be open and have no fear of victimization. The end result is growth as the environment facilitates it.
Understand Each Member of Your Team
Trust starts by ensuring that team members are understood and that their concerns are taken into consideration and tackled. In the business world, the rule of thumb is to have rules that apply to everyone and that everyone must live up to. However, the reality is that each member of the team is a dynamic individual, with dynamic needs and expectations. By understanding this, you create an environment where employees trust you and they genuinely know that you can help when the need arises. People view every aspect of their lives in terms of relationships and without genuine relationships with your subordinates, they will not trust you and neither will they be committed to the team.
Always Bring Evidence
Hearsay and rumours are bad for business just like they are bad for any relationship. You must have heard the quote, We trust in God, all other must bring evidence. Well, this applies to the relationship with your team members as well. Making empty claims will erode any trust your employees have in you and any future information will be treated with a pinch of salt. Facts introduce critical thinking and this is good for the team as it spurs creativity and it will also make it possible for you to ask your team members to bring proof at all times.
Listen and Act
A conversation allows people to share information. A monologue gets you heard but it does not necessarily get you understood. Listening encourages people to open up and acting on information shared creates room for more sharing. If you do not listen to your team members, they will simply not share anything with you because they do not trust you. Additionally, if you only listen and you do not do anything about the information shared, your teammates will be hesitant to share anything with you.
Discuss Issues Openly
When issues arise within a company, it is important to discuss them openly and honestly, instead of avoiding them or downplaying them, which creates room for rumours. It is important to ensure that your team members can always count on you, to be honest with them and discuss issues as they are, as opposed to sugar-coating them. Such honesty builds the team’s trust in the leader and creates room for future engagements of this kind. An open team is well-placed to tackle problems as they arise and if there is trust then the team can openly engage on arising matters.
Building trust in teams is not easy because everyone has their needs and preferences. However, as a leader, it is for your own good that you have a team that trusts you and in which team members trust each other. Great teams are built on trust so cultivate a culture of trust within your team and you will have won half the battle to great success.