We know that trust takes time to build. Psychologist and author Brené Brown shares how she taught her daughter to think about trust using the simple ‘jar of marbles’ metaphor: Every time someone does what they say they are going to do; you add a marble to the jar. Each time someone breaks trust, you take a marble out.
The goal for all of us is to fill up each other’s jar. Here are some ways you can start:
1) Nurture Relationships
It's difficult to have trust with someone you don’t know well. When managers invest time in getting to know their employees as a person and a professional, this goes a long way to adding marbles to the jar.
Regular and frequent 1-2-1 time with employees (weekly or bi-weekly), even if only for 15 minutes, creates conditions to connect in a way that engenders trust.
Explore employees’ goals, motivations and interests, and ask the questions that will help you get to know them personally too. This will create the kind of connection that enables a stronger relationship.
Giving a person time and focus by being fully present and actively listening is one of the biggest demonstrations of respect, caring and acknowledgement that can be given.
We all have a basic human need to be heard and understood. Try not to appear distracted by emails or phone notifications during 1-2-1’s. Demonstrating curiosity and fully listening is the foundation for trust and relationships.
3) Maintain open communication
Taking the time to share information transparently and authentically is a show of respect and a powerful trust builder. It sends a message to people that they matter, that you value them, and that you are invested in their success.
Be sure to stick to time wherever possible. In a period of economic downturn, it’s likely everyone is feeling increased levels of stress and anxiety, especially when feeling like there isn’t enough time in the day to get things done. Keeping things brief and productive will reassure your employees that you consider their time to as valuable as your own – another sign of caring and support that boosts trust.
4) Involve people in decisions
When employees are involved in decisions that impact them, they are more likely to be engaged and committed to your success and that of the organisation.
When we can contribute and make a difference, we are more invested in the outcome. By creating conditions for employees to contribute their ideas, you enable people to feel valued and have a sense of purpose.
5) Reflect and adjust
What can your latest employee survey results tell you about employees' feelings towards their leaders? Are their clues about how you can personally support your department or individuals within the team to be more resilient, agile and innovative in navigating the rough waters we all are experiencing?
Trust can be an advantage over the competition, especially during an economic downturn. Taking time to reflect on our own behaviours helps us to rejig routines and practices to boost trust and give the business a better chance at thriving, even in the most challenging times.