Trust in the workplace is a top priority to a project manager. Building trust in a team or a small unit you control helps propagate trust in the organization. Conversely, workplaces lacking trust are environments where an effective feedback culture cannot grow. You can’t always control the level of trust across the team but you can always act in ways that promote it. Of course, it’s easier said than done. So here are some ways on how you build trust across the team.
We have this notion that delivering bad news will affect the team performance – but being honest during hard times is a key component of creating the right culture, and to build trust. Maybe you’re cutting one member from the team, or you did not reach the company’s goal. Maybe the bad news is that you’re not giving bonuses this year. Being honest and direct earns your employees’ respect, and the transparency gained by filling them in and explaining goes a long way.
This might just be the hardest thing to do as a leader or project manager. Being honest on the tough times that are going on in the organization is one thing, but admitting it’s your mistake that caused it is much, much harder. Admitting your mistake to your employees it makes you more human and likable. It sometimes is just acknowledging what they already know. It’s very beneficial for a team to know that their leader accepts mistakes. It sets an example for accountability, and it shows you’re an honest person. Admitting you’re at fault is a major part of what goes into being a great leader, and it goes a long way to build trust.
You have to know your team on the personal level. Whether it’s out of the office activities, or taking a real interest in their lives, people like be appreciated and cared about. Know your team. What makes them tick? What is affecting their work ethic? What motivates them? Take an interest. Find out those little details, like Karen’s son is on the high school football team. Or that Marvin collects antique china sets. Interact with them personally. This will build trust, and it will motivate your team to give their all.
Protect Your Employees
Protect your employees. Don’t place blame, call names, or point fingers. Run interference when blame comes in from outside sources. Employees learn to trust when they know that their names aren’t being taken in vain. When team members make a mistake it may seem common sense to distance one’s self. This may maintain your reputation, but it won’t win you your team’s trust. This might be the simplest way to build trust – make sure your team knows that you got their back.
Keep Your Expectations High
Show the team that you believe in them. Act as if you believe staff members are capable of living up to your standards. Set the bar a tad high, and empower your team to reach it. This support encourages your employees’ best efforts – and your trust in them earns their trust in you, and each other.
Summary: Build Trust
Trust is the foundation of all successful relationships. It’s fragile, and it’s not magic. It does not just pop in the air instantly. In building trust across the team, you have to slowly build it one step at a time and you have to trust the process. But if you do that, you’ll have a team that’s dedicated, motivated, and driven to succeed.