As leaders, it can be daunting to find a balance between your role as a manager and making sure that your employees know that they have your trust to make mistakes and learn from those mistakes without fear of retribution. While you can tell employees that you trust them, their judgment and decisions, that supposed trust works a lot better if it’s shown rather than told. There are many methods for showing your employees that you trust them, the importance of which will be realized when it comes their time to transition into leadership.
The importance of building trust cannot be understated, nor can the importance of using that trust as building blocks for the future of your company and leadership. Trust is how you not only reinforce your value system but how you ingrain it within your employees, especially the ones who will be future leaders themselves. This trust keeps moving, a living thing, that wraps its tendrils around every aspect of your business and helps solidify a positive environment focused on growth and innovation. If there is trust throughout the organization, then there is a foundation on which to function far into the future.
Communicate by Listening
So how can you start building that trust to inspire future leaders and create a foundation of trust? Well, this shouldn’t come to a surprise — communicate with your employees. I always take the time to speak to my employees, whether it be a tidbit about their personal life, or professional goals, or to hear ideas in a brainstorming setting. Show your employees that you are willing and wanting to listen, to not only hear them but to really listen and interact. This shows your employees that you are invested as much in them as you are the greater scope of your business. Because your employees are your business. It doesn’t function without them.
Speak with authenticity, mean what you say and say what you mean. The new generation of employees has little patience for leaders who attempt to demand or command respect, it must be earned. It is earned through honesty and trust, which is in turn earned through earnest behavior and consistent messaging. Show yourself as not only a leader but a motivator, from bringing out the meaning and purpose in everyday tasks to bringing out the best in your employees through daily interactions and support. This will inspire trust in you, which will help your future leaders build their own habits of encouraging trust in others and themselves.
As a leader, another way to build trust in your employees so that one day they turn around and share that trust with their employees is to be a champion of their personal success. This doesn’t apply to just the workplace, but their personal lives as well. You don’t have to co-sign any home loans but congratulate someone on buying that new house. Stay involved in their personal development and encourage further learning. You are invested in their successes. They are the reason yours continue, that link needs to be reinforced with supportive behaviors.
Finally, trust really only solidifies itself under duress. When your employees are facing massive challenges or working towards a deadline the most important thing you can do to inspire trust is to roll up your sleeves and pitch in. Show them you have their back, you are ready to roll and get it done, just as much as they are. This will build a strong foundation of trust that they will add to their repertoire of leadership abilities and continue the trend of trust well into the future.