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Gaining the Trust of Your Staff

By: Scott McBride - Updated: 15 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Trust Staff Jobs Policy Learning

Staff are more likely to react positively to a manager they can trust. A manager can build a reputation for being honest and trustworthy by keeping their promises, speaking from a position of knowledge, working through differences and supporting others when they are in difficulty.

When a manager knows their subject area well, employees will listen to and trust what they have to say. Knowledgeable managers breed confidence and the more answers a manager has to questions, the more staff will come to him when they need advice.

A manager should keep up to date with current affairs and read trade journals to get to know more about their line of business. Before holding meetings, a manager should spend time learning as much as possible about every issue that is to be discussed. That way they will be ready to take the lead in briefing others.

Keep Promises

Staff will place trust in managers they see as being reliable, but if a manager does not keep promises they will lose the trust of others quickly. Before committing to new obligations, a manager should be certain that they will be able to fulfil them. It is better to say “no” and disappoint at this stage rather than later on. If, despite their best efforts, a manager is likely to miss a deadline, they should contact the other party and explain what has happened.

A manager’s behaviour patterns at work can influence how they are viewed by staff. If a manager is late for meetings, stressed when jobs throw up problems and hates being interrupted, employees are less likely to place their trust in them. Try to be punctual, view problems as challenges and encourage questions.

A good manager should make it a policy to offer support before being asked for it. By providing help, advice and information, a manager can assist staff tackling tricky jobs. If team members feel their employment status is secure, they will trust a manager more readily. One way to achieve this is by remembering personal details such as a family event or a partner’s activities. Simply sharing a lunch, phone call or even a smile can add to an employee’s sense of security.

Delegate to Gain Trust

Trust works both ways too, so it is important to delegate and give employees tasks that will challenge them. If team members feel as though they are in gainful employment rather than going through the motions, they will feel more secure. There are other benefits for managers too, as effective delegation can eases a manager’s workload.

If the worst happens and mistrust arises, it is important to be open and honest about what has happened. Voice concerns and listen carefully to the concerns of the other party. A manager must acknowledge their own shortfalls, own up to mistakes and ask what can be done to rectify them and make amends. Be open about wants and needs and make allowances for the weaknesses of others.

Learning to tolerate and explore the reasons behind differences in opinions can have benefits, as opposing views can often be the catalyst for the best and most creative ideas. Make it a policy to try to find agreement, but allow for different points of view.

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