5 Ways to Build Trust in the Workplace

5 Ways to Build Trust in the Workplace

In episode 75 of the C-CRETS podcast, ‘The Intersection of Trust, Burnout, and Mental Wellbeing: A Conversation with Nidhi Tewari,’ she spoke about the impact that a lack of trust can have on an employee’s workplace experience.

Trust among colleagues, supervisors, and managers plays a vital role in how an organization functions. A lack of trust impedes communication, which will not only affect the interpersonal relationships among employees, but the organization’s deliverables.

For example, an employee may not produce his best work because he doesn’t trust the leader on the team project or believe they will value his contribution; or mistrust is formed when a worker witnesses her supervisor checking the cubicles each morning to see who’s there and views it as micromanaging.

When it comes to an organization’s success, trust in the workplace is essential. Here are five ways to build trust among employees in the workplace.

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1. Do not micromanage

People can sense when there’s trust in a relationship. Managers can empower employees by first demonstrating trust in them.

We’ve seen managers who try to micromanage employees, whether it’s sending frequent emails or requiring constant updates on a task. This type of behavior reflects a lack of trust and can lead to complacency on the part of the employee, who may become reliant on the manager’s feedback at every step.

Show that you trust those who you work with and encourage autonomy. By showing trust, you’ll also gain from learning about other people’s viewpoint. Employees with a sense of autonomy are more likely to share their viewpoints with confidence, which benefits the organization. 

On the other hand, micromanaging not only slows things down, but it erodes feelings of trust. So avoid micromanaging, and you’ll not only demonstrate trust in your colleagues, but you’re more likely to gain insight, as well as support from others.

2. Listen to what is being said

A positive work environment involves respect and professionalism, which entails colleagues who listen to each other. By doing this, you’re not only communicating nonverbally that it isn’t just about your perspective, you’re also demonstrating your receptiveness to hearing other people’s concerns and that you value their contribution.

When other people recognize your willingness to listen to them, they’re more inclined to choose you as the person who they reach out when they have to tackle other issues at work. Listening enables colleagues to learn about and from one another, and helps to boost morale in the workplace.

Photo from nappy.co

3. Ask for and act on feedback

Beyond listening, all human beings want their voices to be heard.

Managers and leaders at work should not only show a willingness to listen, but ask for and act on the feedback provided by their colleagues.

Among the myriad of benefits, feedback can help an organization’s leadership team make more informed decisions, spot potential problems, gain insight on the training needed, and understand what resources will help their colleagues.

You can obtain feedback by asking direct questions, holding meetings, conducting surveys to gather input from team members, or by creating other feedback channels like one-question emails so persons can share their opinions. You can also have external training and receive feedback from experts who assess your organization and staff members from an outside perspective.

Once you’ve obtained the feedback, look at the results to identify the strengths and weaknesses within your workplace, and utilize this information for improvement. Communicate what you’ve learned with your team and take a collaborative approach to improving everyone’s workplace experience.

4. Create a culture of inclusiveness

A positive and inclusive work culture fosters teamwork and trust amongst employees.

On the podcast, we’ve shared several receipts on the advantages that an organization with an inclusive culture has over one that is more homogeneous, such as earning more profits. In addition, we’ve provided C-CRETS on how an organization can build a more inclusive work environment.

An inclusive work culture values the strengths of all its employees. When an organization focuses on issues such as diversity, accessibility for persons with disabilities, and workplace trainings that support the professional development of its employees, everyone feels more welcomed.

In addition, affinity groups, or groups that offer mutual support and that back an employee’s professional or personal development, help in fostering a sense of inclusiveness.

5. Value differences

Differences in the workplace are expected, from religious and educational backgrounds to dress codes and communication styles. How an organization and their employees manage these differences, however, will determine if trust is cultivated or dismantled.

In episode 76, ‘Breaking the Mold: A Conversation with Kana Ueda’, Kana spoke about how an Asian employee may not readily speak up during a team meeting due to  cultural background. One way an organization can show both their awareness and value for differences is by taking a cultural approach. For example, set up a lunch-and-learn where colleagues share aspects of their culture. Employees can also learn more about their colleagues’ culture on their own to better understand one another.

We spend a large amount of our lives in the workplace, therefore, it serves an organization to build trust among employees as they work towards common goals. In addition, by building trust, it diminishes isolating behaviors, while encouraging teamwork and collaboration.

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