Trust in the workplace is imperative. It builds relationships. It creates respect and loyalty. Without trust, the business suffers. Productivity goes down, turnover skyrockets, and, more importantly, nobody’s happy.
In an earlier article, I talked about how trust was, in fact, an action word. There are certain actions that managers need to take in order to actively trust their employees. That being said, there are also actions that managers can take that show their employees just how little they are trusted. Here are 5 such actions.
1. Keep Secrets
Let’s start with an easy one. Keeping secrets isn’t only a great way to make your team not trust you; it’s also a pretty great indicator that you don’t trust your team. Granted, not everyone needs to know everything, but actively keeping information from your staff tells them that you either don’t trust them to keep the information private or that you think they’ll try to take advantage of you if they knew what was going on.
If you want to show your team that you trust them, try building a culture of transparency. Keeping your staff in the loop about what’s going on with the business will not only show your staff that you trust them, it will also make them feel more comfortable sharing information with you.
2. Second-Guess Your Staff
If your hiring process is on point, then there’s a good chance that you hired your staff because they were the most qualified people for the job. This means that there’s a high likelihood that they know what they’re doing and that they don’t need to be second-guessed by you every step of the way. Doing this shows your team that you don’t trust them, it creates friction in the workplace, and in some cases, it can lead to your employees becoming less confident in what they do.
If you really feel like your employees are qualified for their positions, then a certain amount of autonomy should be expected. Instead of second-guessing your staff, try letting them do their jobs. If you do need to ask a question about something they did, make sure that it’s coming from a place of judgment, but rather from a place of genuine curiosity and desire for clarity.
3. Check-In When You’re on Vacation
I just read a great article on HBR.org about how emailing when you’re on vacation can ruin company culture. In the article, the author mentions that emailing while you’re supposed to be on vacation sends a message that you don’t trust your team to do the work without you there. I’ve personally worked for bosses that do this, and I can tell you with certainty that this is the exact message that gets received.
According to a survey performed by HBR, “just 14% of managers unplug when they’re on vacation. At the most senior levels of leadership, a mere 7% do. The majority check in with work at least once a day.” Most of the time, the reason why is simple; the manager is afraid that his team, or his company, will fall apart if he (or she) completely steps away.
If you want to show your employees that you trust them, try actually taking a vacation. You might find that your team is a lot more competent than you think.
4. Request Too Much Information
Let’s face it; the only people who even remotely enjoy reports are the people who only have to read and interpret them. That’s not to say that all reports are unnecessary; in fact, reports are actually a good thing, as long as they are used for the right purposes. What are the purposes of creating reports? Well, there’s really only one: to get a birds-eye view of the business and collect actionable information that will help you make decisions in the future.
If you are requesting information solely for the purposes of having a tighter grip on every single thing that’s going on in your business, or in your team, then you are most likely requesting too much information. Figure out what information is actually important, and request that only. Otherwise, you’re sending a clear signal that you don’t trust your employees.
5. Create Overly-Complicated Procedures
Again, your staff is working with you because it was decided, by you or someone else, that they are qualified to do their jobs, and they should be trusted to do their jobs. Unfortunately, many managers are so intent on preventing mistakes that they create inefficient, overly-complicated inner-office procedures in order to cover all of the bases. This leads to the employees feeling suffocated, worn out, and like they aren’t being trusted.
Your employees know what they need to do. They know the results that they are expected to produce. They know your company’s policies and procedures. You don’t need to create extra unnecessary steps. What you need to do is trust them.
Wrapping it Up
There’s a big difference between feeling as if you can trust someone, and actively trusting someone. If your business is going to succeed in the long-term, you need to start actively trusting your employees. Do you agree? let me know in the comments!