5 Thoughts On Trust

You need to trust that your team can take care of business and your team needs to trust that you have their back.

That trust can be simple:

“I trust Bob’s opinion so I’m going to send him my client presentation and ask for his feedback.”

To the more delicate:

“I don’t understand why Pete is being such a jerk to me, I’ll ask Bob what he thinks. I trust he will give me his honest opinion and help me out.”

How much do you trust your manager?

Many of the conflicts between managers and employees involve trust. Unfortunately, the modern workplace is one of the hardest places to develop and maintain trust. Also on the unfortunate side, is the reality that we don’t work well with people we don’t trust.

How can you build or repair trust? Each circumstance is different but there are some universals truths:

  1. Trust is a two-way street.Both managers and employees must model trustworthiness (see points two and three below for the “how”) and that’s true all the way to the top of the organization.
  2. Employees — You can model trustworthiness by checking some important boxes:
  • Do what you say you will
  • Do what you say you will without your manager reminding you to do what you say you will
  • Be honest
  • Be reliable
  1. Managers — You can model trustworthiness by checking some important boxes:
  • Keep your mouth shut — only share what your employees tell you on an as-needed basis. A direct report should know that the feedback you are giving them will stay between the two of you.
  • Delegate — I know it’s tough to relinquish control but you must if you are going to get any of your work done.
  • Do what you say you will
  • Do what you say you will without your direct report reminding you to do what you said you would
  • Be honest — you are their manager and it’s your job to give them feedback, especially negative feedback, no matter how uncomfortable you are.
  • Be reliable
  1. Micro-Management = lack of trust- If you micro-manage your people it’s because you don’t trust them. The source for that lack of trust can vary, sometimes there is a past issue and other times you may not even realize what you are doing. Managers, you must learn to delegate and employees must check the box (see number two above).
  2. Keep in Mind: Organizations that don’t trust their employees suck.
  • Policies — Companies that don’t trust their employees have strict policies that treat their employees like children. There is no room for critical thinking because the company doesn’t trust that its employees will do the right thing without a structured process.
  • Lack of transparency — you can’t trust your people so you tell them the minimum. Unfortunately, people fill the unknown with gossip and speculation.
  • CYA becomes a way of life and the blame gets passed around regularly.

Yes, there are many situations where companies/managers shouldn’t leave an important decision in the hand of one person. There is a time and place for controls, policies and rules. But remember that we (should) hire people because we believe they can positively impact the organization. That means we should absolutely give people the freedom to make the decisions to do their job. If not, why are they still working for you?


You Win With People


Originally published at HR reMix.