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2 Simple Steps to Building Trust With Your Team

December 27th, 2017

trustOne of the most important ingredients of a healthy relationship between managers and their direct reports is trust. Trust means being psychologically safe, allowing team members to share without fear of of embarrassment or rejection; it also means trusting your people to do what is expected.

Why is trust so important? Google found that trust, in the form of providing psychological safety for team members to be themselves, is the single most important ingredient to success. Where trust exists between employees and managers and amongst themselves, productivity is highest.

But building trust takes time and effort. Leadership consultant and author Jason Lauritsen says the most common question he's asked is how to build trust. Writing on his blog, Lauritsen explains that it's not complicated, even if executing requires commitment.

"There are two simple things that any manager or leader can to do have an immediate positive impact on trust with the people they lead," he writes. "First, trust your people (even before you have evidence that they are trustworthy).

  • Tell your employees that you trust them and that you will continue to trust them until they prove they are not deserving of that trust.
  • Demonstrate that you trust them by taking them at their word, allowing them autonomy, and assuming positive intentions when things don’t go as planned."

By extending trust without waiting for it to be earned encourages reciprocity, as well as creating a feeling in the trusted person that they want to live up to that trust.

The second way Lauritsen says managers build trust is through clarity of expectations.

"Expectations can fall into several categories:

  • Performance Expectations: How will my work be measured? What does success look like? Example: Your average customer satisfaction rating should be above 4.2 each quarter.
  • Behavioral Expectations: How should I go about doing my work? Example: Bring a positive attitude to your work.
  • Relationship Expectations: How should I treat those I work with? Example: No surprises. We don’t let good or bad news sneak up on our teammates. When I know, you know.
  • Management Expectations: What should you expect from me as a manager? Example: I will always have your back when things go wrong.

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