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  • Dr. Julie Olsen

Easy Steps to Earning Trust



Machiavelli asked whether it was more desirable for a leader to be loved or feared. However, it may actually be more important to know how much you’re trusted. Trust is a foundation for successful relationships both at home and at work.


What is the potential business impact of a high trust culture? According to the Great Place To Work Institute, high trust organizations experience two to three times greater than the average market returns.


Are you concerned with turnover? Organizations with a high trust culture typically have a 50% lower turnover rate. Would cutting your turnover rate in half be an incentive to focus on building trust?


According to research published in the Harvard Business Review, workers at high-trust companies said they had 74% less stress, 106% more energy, 50% higher productivity, 13% fewer sick days, 76% more engagement, 29% more life satisfaction, and 40% less burnout.


You can easily maximize your leadership potential and advance your career by focusing on connecting with your team and increasing your competency. Here are a few tips that support these strategies while developing trust.


Connecting With Your Team:


1. Exchange feedback.

Employees are more engaged when they receive ongoing guidance rather than waiting for annual performance reviews. Let them know how well they’re doing and where they need to grow. Make your feedback timely and specific.


2. Listen attentively.

Give employees plenty of opportunities to express their views too. Stay visible and keep your door open as much as possible. Listen with an open mind and act on useful suggestions.


3. Be inclusive.

Celebrate diversity and respect individual differences. Build a culture where each team member feels like they belong. Examine your company’s policies and practices, as well as your own personal bias.


4. Resolve conflicts.

Disagreements are natural when you spend 40 hours a week together. When you handle them constructively, they may even strengthen your relationships. Empower employees to seek their own solutions and help them to find common ground.


5. Express appreciation.

Be generous with sincere praise and congratulations. Write thank you notes and hand out awards. Free food and time off are gratifying too.


6. Show empathy.

Acknowledge your employee’s emotions and let them know you care. Try to see situations from their perspective. Choose words that are encouraging and kind.


Increasing Competency


1. Maintain your qualifications.

Let your results speak for you. Your team needs to know that you have the knowledge and experience to make sound decisions and oversee their work. That may mean keeping your skills up to date with additional education and training.


2. Share information.

Your employees are more likely to follow you if you explain the reasons behind your actions. Provide context, so they can understand the big picture and do their jobs more effectively.


3. Project confidence.

What does your appearance say about you? Upgrading your wardrobe and body language, including your digital body language, could help you to look more like a leader.


4. Ask for help.

A wise leader knows they have to collaborate with others to be successful. Turn to your team for advice and ideas. Delegate responsibilities. Call in outside expertise when you’re dealing with issues beyond your scope.


Bonus Tips:


1. Follow through.

Be true to your word. Think carefully before taking on commitments to be sure you have the capacity to deliver as promised. Hold yourself accountable for your actions.


2. Acknowledge setbacks.

Admit it when you’re unable to meet expectations. Blaming others or making excuses damages your relationships and prevents you from learning from your experiences. Pay attention to how your actions affect others and apologize when appropriate.


3. Understand your agenda.

Self-interest provides the motivation for most of our actions on or off the job. However, it’s important to be honest with yourself when there's a conflict between what you want and what is more advantageous for your team.


4. Value integrity.

Lead by example. Clarify your values and use them to guide you through your daily life. Strive to be truthful, ethical, and consistent.


Successful leadership begins with trust. When you and your employees have confidence in each other, you’ll enjoy higher morale and work more effectively as a team.


For more information on this topic and others, contact me at Workplace Advancement Strategies.