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Trust begins at the top of every organization. Leaders walking the walk directly affect whether or not their employees will trust them – and employee trust has a profound impact on performance and business results.

Here are three ways to build trust through leading by example:

1. Be Honest and Open

Build trust with regular communication and by being open, honest and transparent as you build a culture of mutual respect at your workplace.

  • There will always be things you cannot share, but communicate openly with employees at every opportunity – and always tell the truth. People will find out if you don’t – and any trust you have established will immediately be eroded.
  • If you make a mistake, own up to it. Show people that you are aware of your shortcomings and that you regret them.
  • If you don’t have all the answers, it’s okay to admit it. This makes you more human and easier to trust. Never fear being upfront and straightforward.

2. Listen

Actively listen to employee feedback and give them a chance to be open with you. When someone is talking to you, give them your full attention. Don’t interrupt or even offer advice, unless you’re sure it’s warranted. Sometimes, all people need is a sounding board. Of course, be prepared to counsel when the time is right.

  • Genuine listening builds relationships, solves problems, resolves conflicts, and improves accuracy. It can lead to fewer errors and misunderstandings and less wasted time.
  • Keep an open mind. Listen without judging, mentally criticizing or jumping to conclusions. Be empathetic: put yourself in the employee’s place and try to feel what they’re feeling. It may take some practice, but active listening is well worth the effort.

3. Follow Through

Just as you expect your employees to deliver on their commitments, they expect you to do the same. As is true in any relationship, employees don’t trust managers who let their promises fall through.

  • Lead with integrity. Show that you’re trustworthy by keeping your word. Say what you’ll do and then do what you say. Give trust – and then you can ask for it in return.
  • Without follow through, your credibility is damaged and your leadership will be questioned. Your employees rely heavily on you for a lot of things. After all, you are the one who makes the big decisions in regards to their employment and you are their connection to the higher-ups at your company. If you fail to follow through on a commitment, your employees will feel like they don’t matter to you or to the organization. So, keeping your word is really the only thing – and the right thing – to do.

Are you looking to build a strong team?

Trust and team building, active listening and communication are just a few samples of the broad spectrum of leadership training you need to offer to attract and retain top talent. The recruitment and workforce development experts at TRC Professional Solutions can help. We’ll work with you to develop a customized strategy that will consistently deliver better results. Contact us today to learn more.


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