Whether you are a managing a new team, or you are a new manager working with your team for the first time, building trust is foundational to success. So, how do you build trust? There are three key ways: demonstrating credibility, listening to your team, and ‘walking the talk’ through your behaviour.
1. Demonstrate Credibility
First things first – to get your team to trust you, you need to demonstrate credibility, by showing that you have the skills and experience necessary to handle the job. What does this look like in practice? Sharing your previous, relevant experience will not only show your team that you know what you are doing but builds trust by showing your team that you’ve been in their shoes and you understand what their day-to-day reality looks like. Asking the right questions shows your team that you are familiar with the situation they are in and know what to do. It also provides them the opportunity to think through solutions for themselves (with your guidance), demonstrating that you, in turn, trust them to come up with solutions. Demonstrating credibility is important for all managers and can be an especially critical step for first time managers, who don’t have a managerial record of success to back them up.
For those in leadership roles, it can be tempting to grab the reins, set the course, and get down to work – however, this likely won’t get you the results you want in the long run. Instead, managers must empower teams by listening to what they have to say. How are things going on the team? What have your employees found has worked well and what hasn’t? What would they change to increase productivity and drive results for the business? Often, your team has a vantage point that you don’t, so be ready to really hear what they say and act of their input – asking for input and then not acting on it can be more damaging to trust than not asking at all.
3. Walk the Talk
Actions speak significantly louder than words. To get your team to trust you, demonstrate integrity between what you are saying and what they see you doing day to day. If you want your team to give honest feedback but then shut down contrary opinions, for example, you are telling your team you want them to tow the line – regardless of what you may be saying. If you want them to take risks but then punish every mistake, your team will be unwilling to take risks in future. Trust is eroded, and your team will no longer believe what you say. Above all, be authentic – people can spot insincerity, and it is corrosive to trust.
Whether you are an experienced manager, or a new manager taking the reigns for the first time, work on building trust with your team – your business and your career will benefit. Building a trusting relationship with your team ensures that they will feel empowered to do their jobs to the best of their capabilities under your management.