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How to Build Trust on Your Team

By Ian Klaes

Over 50 percent of employees say that workplace trust has a huge impact on their overall daily work experience. Trust is a key ingredient for effective teamwork and successful leadership outcomes. It is good for morale, promotes communication, improves employee satisfaction and boosts productivity.

To be a good leader, you must have trust in your team members. But as a business owner, it can be difficult to delegate and trust others to fulfill your vision. Here are some of the best ways to build trust on your team.

Why Trust Is Hard for Business Owners

If it has been difficult for you to trust your team, you're not alone. This is a very common problem among leaders, especially small business owners. If you started your own company, it can be hard to let people take on tasks that you've been in charge of.

Here are some of the top reasons that trust is so hard for business owners:

  • Fear that others will make costly mistakes
  • Deep sense of responsibility or attachment to certain tasks
  • Need for control
  • Past negative experiences
  • High expectations and even perfectionism
  • Fear that employees will become competition or a threat to their authority

Why Trust Is Important

If you want your business to succeed, trust is a key component. Trust is a two-way street; as you trust your team more, they will trust you and each other. This results in a more harmonious work environment where creativity and positive communication can flourish.

Here are some additional benefits you and your team can enjoy if you trust your team.

  • Better work-life balance
  • Happier and more collaborative work environment
  • Increased productivity
  • Efficient decision-making
  • Enhanced creativity and innovation
  • Improved employee satisfaction
  • Less stress

On the other hand, a lack of trust can have the opposite effect. Employees will not feel valued, and their production will decrease. They will become disengaged and maybe even leave the office for good. And a lack of trust can cause you to become burned out as you try to take on too many responsibilities.

RELATED CONTENT: How to Avoid Burnout as a Franchise Owner

How Business Owners Can Build Trust on Their Team

Now that we understand some of the potential roadblocks to building trust in the team, let's dive in to how you can overcome them and effectively build trust.

Delegate with Confidence

Trusting your team members with responsibilities and tasks demonstrates your confidence in their abilities. Delegating tasks not only relieves your workload but also empowers employees to showcase their skills and expertise. That's ho they gain more trust!

To help team members be most successful, clearly define expectations and provide the necessary resources for successful completion of assigned tasks. Trusting your team's capabilities builds their confidence and motivates them to excel. Offer guidance and support when needed, but avoid micromanaging.

Trusting your team to deliver results fosters a sense of ownership and accountability, resulting in a better employee experience. And the more you delegate, the more your team could surprise you with amazing results.

Promote Transparent Communication

Effective communication builds understanding and trust while poor communication leads to frustration and lack of trust. As a business owner, it is crucial to foster an environment where open and transparent communication is encouraged. Regularly share company goals, challenges, and updates to keep employees informed and engaged.

Encourage team members to express their ideas, concerns, and suggestions without fear of judgment or reprisal. Actively listen to their feedback, validate their opinions, and address any issues promptly. By fostering open lines of communication, you create an atmosphere of trust where everyone feels safe, valued, and heard.

Meet with Team Members Individually

By meeting with your team members one-on-one, you can connect with your team on a more personal level. You can build more trust by meeting with your team members face-to-face. Naturally, the more you know someone, the more likely you are to trust them.

During these meetings, you can assess their strengths and weaknesses as well as the type of work they enjoy. Discover their aspirations as well. This open communication can help you identify responsibilities that you could delegate to this team member.

Plus, you can share about yourself in these meetings, too. Allow your team members to get to know you to build more trusting work relationships.

Trust but Verify

While it's important to trust your employees, it's also prudent to have systems in place to monitor progress and ensure accountability. Implement performance measurement tools, regular check-ins, and progress updates to stay informed about their work.

Trusting your employees but having mechanisms for verification helps maintain a balance between autonomy and accountability.

RELATED CONTENT: 9 Tips for Becoming a Better Leader

Try Trust-Building Activities

It might be silly to do some trust fall exercises, but they can actually help your team build connections and grow trust. Team building activities can help you connect with team members on a different level. Games, scavenger hunts, and other activities can help you discover additional strengths that you might not have noticed otherwise.

Not only can these activities help you gain trust in your team, but they build general trust in the workplace. Employees can feel more at ease and have better team communication.

Stop the Blame Game

Some business owners have the tendency to blame employees or even shame them for mistakes. However, this causes your team to lost trust in you and will lead to poor employee engagement. How would you feel if you thought someone was looking for any little fault in your work?

By blaming others, you are not taking accountability as a business owner and leader. It's your job to coach and help others develop professionally, not to scrutinize every single mistake. If you're always focused on the mistakes, you won't ever be able to trust your team. Instead, help your team understand that each mistake is a learning opportunity and coach them through how to improve.

Provide Opportunities for Growth

Your team will never grow if you don't give them the opportunity. Find ways to invest in your employees' professional development. This could be through training programs, a mentorship, or delegating additional responsibilities.

By giving your team these opportunities, you also show them that you are committed to their personal development. As a result, they are more likely to trust you and want to stick with the company long term.

Set Realistic Expectations

One of the biggest reasons that business owners have a hard time trusting is because they have unrealistic expectations. You can't expect perfection from your team. Everyone will fail — even you have had your fair share of failures. But these failures teach valuable lessons.

When delegating or assigning responsibilities to your employees, set realistic expectations with them and make sure they understand the expectations clearly. Then, hold them accountable to that standard. As they meet your standards, you can grow your trust. But if you always have unrealistic expectations, you will always be disappointed and feel like you can't trust your team.

Address Issues Promptly

When trust is compromised due to mistakes, conflicts, or performance issues, address them promptly and directly. Have open and honest conversations to understand the underlying reasons and work towards resolutions. Taking appropriate action when trust is breached reinforces the importance of trust within the organization.

If someone does break your trust, that doesn't mean you should never trust them again or that you can't trust them with a different task. Evaluate the situation and determine how the employee can demonstrate that they are trustworthy.

Remember, building trust takes time and consistency. Be patient and give your employees the opportunity to prove themselves. Trust is a two-way street, so it's essential to foster an environment where trust is reciprocal between you and your employees.

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Tags: Business Development, Leadership