Why is trust such an important issue? How can it be gained?

As an employee,  you essentially work for both your leader/manager and the company. Great companies perform better than others because of chemistry. There’s a certain pull that exists within the walls and among the employees, teams, and leadership groups at “great” companies.

Trust is the secret ingredient to the magic elixir that makes a company’s culture great. It allows for growth and development to flourish. Without trust, people won’t try new things or think outside the box. 

Trust can be gained a variety of ways. Some basics are always important –

  • consistency
  • investing time and your creative energy into the relationshi
  • taking a long view with respect to outcomes

For example, don’t break or reschedule your meetings with team members. Open yourself up a little about your passions and life outside of work. Do a grown-up version of show-and-tell day and bring something personal into work to show your team. It’s as easy as a recipe or dish you made, a model you built, pictures you’ve taken, etc..

What roles do transparency and honest feedback play in establishing trust? 

When we’re not sure what is going on in a particular situation and nobody seems to be leveling with you or telling you the truth, that’s rough. Visibility and feedback are necessary for us to see what’s in front of us and then when we move forward for the first time (or any time), we need to know if it’s still the right direction. Letting someone walk too far when you see them going in the wrong direction is disingenuous. Or worse, letting them continue to walk and telling them to keep going (a more actively unkind thing to do). 

If a leader loses the trust of an employee or team, what are some steps to regaining it?

If you know what you did to lose or break trust, acknowledge it immediately. Express what you see as the impact and apologize for it and let the employee or team know your plan to resolve it. Shining a fair and appropriate light on it shows your own vulnerability and authentic care for the individual or team. If you don’t know exactly how you broke trust, acknowledge your concern and listen for what the issue was. Then acknowledge those things immediately (own them appropriately), express what you see as the impact and apologize for it and let the employee or team know your plan to resolve it.