7 proven tips for building trust and strengthening relationships in the workplace

by Ana Lopez

Opinions of contributing entrepreneurs are their own.

Trust is essential to a productive and thriving workplace. Employees do better when they trust the company and the leaders they support. Build trust within organizations mainly arises from smaller actions that build up over time. This increased trust leads to more collaboration between employees, strengthens decision making and increases loyalty to the company.

Confidence-inspiring results are hard to ignore, especially when comparing low-trust and high-trust companies. Employees of the high-level report 74% less stress, 50% higher productivity, 29% more satisfaction and 40% less burnout. Trust has to be earned in most relationships, and the business world is no different. Here are seven confidence-building tips that leaders and teams can implement in their daily workflow.

1. Stay true to the four C’s

Competence, dedication, consistency and care are the four elements associated with building trust. In the case of competence, employees should expect to work for someone who knows what they are doing. A lack of trust in an employer can cause employees to lose confidence in the company as a whole. It can also obscure the organization’s mission statement, leading to inferior results and substandard productivity.

Related: 4 Relationship Tips to Increase Employee Engagement and Loyalty

In terms of engagement, staff are more likely to be motivated when they see their leaders committed to the cause. They are also more likely to stick around for the long haul, leading to higher retention rates. With consistency, employees count on a boss to show up and lead, no matter the circumstances. Consistency helps people know what to expect and eliminates the chance of unforeseen hurdles. This reliability allows employees to plan better and stress less about unnecessary chaos.

When it comes to care, people need to feel they matter in the workplace. They want leaders who care about the organization and its people. That’s just one reason why discount packages are so important. They communicate that a company cares about its employees. If you are a leader who violates any of these guidelines, be forthright and honest with employees. Acknowledging your mistakes is another way to cultivate and build confidence.

2. Always be clear and direct

Unclear instructions and feedback from leaders can significantly erode trust over time. Your workforce wants leaders who practice the right communication skills. An employee can easily get stressed if they don’t have thoughtful and detailed instructions to follow. Don’t let the fear of micromanaging stop you from getting hands-on when necessary. It is your duty as a leader to set clear expectations and guidelines for your team.

Related: Why honesty and integrity really matter

Best-selling author and researcher Quote from Brene Brown, “clear is nice, unclear is not nice”, resonates in many areas, including at work. For workplace projects, clear looks like painting a picture of what it will look like in the end. Before your team starts, state what guidelines must be met in order to check off a task. This keeps everyone on the same page and contributes to a higher quality of work.

3. Don’t shy away from difficult conversations

Half of the managers quote difficult conversations as their greatest challenge as a leader. The need to navigate tough topics remains a reality whether they are addressed by employers or not. Having these conversations is a skill that involves emotional intelligence, attention to detail, and an open mind. As a leader, you shouldn’t shy away from these important conversations just because they can be awkward or difficult.

Employees respect a boss who is not afraid to take on challenging discussions and issues, especially in today’s world. This type of leadership sets an example that others will want to follow. Avoiding these conversations can unwittingly lead employees to disrespect and lose confidence in the management of the company. Hard conversations are also likely to arise between employees. If you and a member of your team need to discuss things, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Ask for support from a manager if you need it.

4. Be aware of feedback

Regular feedback enables employees to better understand their job performance and goals. Employees will know what to keep doing and what approaches may need to be adjusted. Whether the feedback is positive or negative, it is necessary for it to be intentionally with these conversations. Add your feedback to your Zoom calendar before your Zoom meetings so you don’t forget. Looking for opportunities to praise employees nurtures a sense of confidence and satisfaction.

Related: How entrepreneurs can use effective feedback to stay resilient and agile

Be constructive and clear when discussing where an employee has room for improvement. These conversations don’t have to be accompanied by a sense of negativity. As long as leaders are respectful, a good employee will usually welcome the opportunity to work for improvement. In addition, employees can build trust in their leaders when they feel cared for and respected.

5. An interest in the mental health of employees

Leaders should take a genuine interest in the mental health of their employees. Showing caring starts with promoting a healthy work-life balance for all employees. Managers can lead by example in their own habits and hope that the rest of the team follows suit. Burned-out employees significantly impede productivity. About 75% of companies struggle with overwhelmed employees, according to a report by Office vibe. These conditions affect the overall job performance and well-being of employees.

Employers should help spread awareness about the importance of mental health. Awareness includes organizing employee support groups and cultivating a healthy work environment. It also means treating each employee with respect. Companies are encouraged to review their health insurance policies to ensure they have adequate mental health coverage. These resources make it easier for employees to seek help from a mental health professional when needed.

6. Provide an environment of open communication

Leaders should strive to create an environment where everyone feels comfortable speaking up. Nurturing a supportive workplace is essential for a mental health of the employee. Employees who feel safe and supported can increase productivity and a sense of confidence. This supportive atmosphere should extend to all areas of the workplace, including meetings and one-on-one conversations.

Studies suggest that employees expect open communication and transparency from their leaders. Effective managers communicate with employees in different ways. This may include listening to any suggestions or concerns and encouraging questions and open feedback. In general, it comes down to how comfortable and supported an employee feels in the office.

7. Identify support systems

Employees need to know where to go for support when they need it. Support systems can be in the form of a designated team member or a reliable project management system. Ensuring that these systems are strong and effective can significantly boost trust in the organizations over time.

Related: How your leadership skills will shape your corporate culture

A designated staff member assigned to each team can be a form of direct support. Building community connections is another way a business can thrive and make sure everyone feels supported. This is especially crucial if your team is remote. A company can also use productivity software to connect their teams seamlessly.

Leading by example builds trust

Trust is central to all good relationships inside and outside the workplace. Leaders who consistently cultivate trust, in small and big ways, are likely to see better outcomes from the workforce. Companies nurture a more driven workforce when they care about their employees’ mental health and lead by example. Consistency is also essential for a thriving office environment. Trust in leaders takes a serious hit when promises are made but not kept.

Managers should not shy away from difficult conversations and work to create an environment where everyone feels safe to speak up. In addition, employees feel supported more likely to stay with a job in the long run. All of these factors help build a solid foundation of trust that sets a company up for success.

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