Every good leader understands the role of trust in relationships among co-workers but might not know what they can do to help build or even solidify that trust. Trust is essential to any relationship whether in or outside of the workplace. Trust must be gained to start laying a proper foundation of mutual respect and awareness. Leaders can help monitor the workplace environment and assess the level of trust among employees by having frank conversations with them or simply engaging their team in conversations and gauging the interactions that take place. Every leader can lend a helping hand to their team no matter what level of cooperation and trust your team may have. Here are five actions to do from Nan Russell to build trust.
1. Operate with respect. Respect is an essential trust building component. If you don't offer respect to others, why would someone give you their trust? The respect component operates as a transparent window giving others a glimpse of who you are. In the words of Malcolm S. Forbes, “You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who do nothing for him.” What are your actions communicating about you?
2. Eliminate the blame game. Finger pointing, assigning fault, or condemning others' mistakes diminishes trust. That ferret-out approach instills fear, not innovation; reduces engagement, not errors; and reinforces scapegoating, not accountability. But people who step up to accept their mishaps and acknowledge their mistakes build trust, enhance accountability, and enable future-focused solutions.
Trust is greatly enhanced with active involvement among all parties and leadership should be providing the path to a respectful and trusting team. Leaders need to be aware of the relationships among their team and should monitor them to head off any problems before they occur. One way to do this is to routinely engage employees in trust building exercises that emphasize the five methods presented above. Leaders can take these five to-do items and put them in their toolbox for their next retreat or seminar as a way to build trust in their teams.