Join Britt Andreatta for an in-depth discussion in this video Establishing trust, part of Management Foundations (2013).
- Establishing trust is an ongoing practice, something you do every day in your words and actions. As a manager, your success is dependent on creating an environment where you're seen as trustworthy, not only by your directory ports but also your supervisors and your peers. So how do you build trust? Let's look at the key practices. First, have integrity with your words and actions. This means that you do what you said you would. You follow through, meet deadlines, and keep your promises. This is not occasionally, but all the time.
In the rare instances where you cannot deliver, you take responsibility, explain why, and even apologize when appropriate. Second, share your values. People have to know what you stand for in order to assess if you have integrity or not. Study after study shows that people assess trustworthiness based on how well you live in alignment with your values. They can do this faster if they know what your values are. Interestingly, they don’t have to like or approve your values for you to establish trust.
Third, make ethical choices. Ethics are another important aspect of integrity. How they differ is that each culture or society has its own laws and norms that determine what's considered ethical within that context. Acting ethically is about being in alignment with the agreed-upon standards of that community. Certainly, the workplace has some agreed-upon standards, like not discriminating against people. Sometimes, an industry has a code of ethics like medicine's Hippocratic Oath of do no harm, and many organizations have their code of ethics that they outline in shared values or specific policies and practices.
Fourth, sincerely listen to others. When you listen to others without judgment, it makes it easier for them to open up in the future. You want to be a place where people can bring their honest concerns, needs, priorities, and hopes and know that you'll listen. This doesn't mean that you have to give them everything they want. In fact, you often won't be able to. But if you listen and respond with respect, you'll build trust with every conversation. Fifth, be accountable for your actions. Part of managing is taking risks and making decisions.
Sometimes you'll be successful, and sometimes you won't. If you blame others or make excuses, you'll damage trust. And if you take credit for other people's work, you harm trust too. So be accountable for your actions, both good and bad. Admit your mistakes, and be proud of your wins. Sixth, be honest in your communication. Your word has to mean something. This is not only following through on promises, but also that you can be honest about anything. Sometimes honesty is hard. It means that you offer realistic assessments, frank critiques, and clear opinions.
That can be challenging if you know the other person won't like what you have to say or may be hurt by it. But trust is also built on people knowing that you'll be honest. Find ways to communicate honestly and clearly, but also with kindness and empathy. It will make it easier to hear what you have to say. Seventh, respond to feedback. You'll be the recipient of feedback, and how you handle it is part of building trust. If you get defensive or shoot the messenger, you're gonna harm trust. As a manager, you have power in the relationship. So you need to intentionally seek feedback and then make changes.
Remember, people leave a boss, not a company. Before they leave, they'll try once or twice to give you feedback. If you don’t change, they'll start disengaging as they get ready to leave. So take feedback very seriously. In fact, intentionally seek it out. Don’t just wait for people to bring you feedback or complaints. Actively seek out their opinions, both good and bad, about how things are going and reward honesty. When someone has the courage to tell you challenging news, sincerely thank them. They've actually shown you a great sign of respect.
This is all part of making it safe to take risks. The last and most important practice, one of the worst things that can happen in work setting is if there's a culture of fear. When people are afraid, they're obviously not in trust. And even worse, you've shut down the pathway to creativity and innovation, something that all organizations need to be successful. As a manager, you need to create a culture where it's safe to take risks. Be open to hearing feedback or ideas that are different from yours. Also, don’t allow your employees to treat each other poorly.
And don’t tolerate behavior that undermines safety for anyone in the organization. Be clear about how performance issues are handled. People feel safer if they trust that the process will be fair. If you consistently focus on building trust, you'll be able to do so. But the work doesn't stop there. While it takes time to build trust, it can be destroyed overnight. One violation on your part, can undo months of hard work. So make establishing trust one of your top and ongoing priorities. It should be built on a set of these practices that you use every day.
Lynda.com is a PMI Registered Education Provider. This course qualifies for professional development units (PDUs). To view the activity and PDU details for this course, click here.
The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.
- Choosing a management style
- Hiring employees
- Coaching employees
- Managing team performance
- Establishing trust
- Motivating and engaging others
- Delegating responsibilities
- Avoiding micromanagement
- Managing remote employees
- Knowing HR regulations<br><br>
- The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.