One of the most overlooked questions when it comes to leadership is very simple: does your team trust you?
I know what many of you are thinking: “It doesn’t matter if they trust me personally or as a leader… as long I sign their paychecks, they’ll perform!”
But there is a big difference between an employee doing just enough to get by, and an employee who dedicates himself to excellence day in and day out.
Getting the best out of your employees requires more than just a fat paycheck. It requires trust.
When your employees trust that you will make the right decisions, they are more willing to invest themselves their work, because they know that they aren’t just spinning their wheels. When your employees trust that you are looking out for their best interests, they are willing to go above and beyond the call of duty when you ask them to.
So how can you inspire their trust? Below are three ideas.
Listen to their ideas and ask for feedback. Unless your goal is to create a team of mindless robots who can follow directions but can’t think for themselves, you need to listen to your team. Don’t be dismissive of their ideas and their feedback, even if they are off the mark. Ask for input regularly.
Don’t make emotional decisions. It’s frustrating for your employees to spend time and energy on a given project, only to have the direction changed or the project cancelled altogether. Don’t change your mind on a dime. Don’t overreact to a crisis. Don’t speak without thinking first. Show your employees that you value their hard work and their dedication by not making emotional decisions on a whim.
Learn to apologize. A good leader must develop the ability to apologize when necessary. I know that this isn’t easy. Whether it is losing your temper with an employee, mistreating a customer, or making a poor decision as a manager, apologizing to your team proves that you hold yourself to the same standard as you hold them to. And it shows that you value your team as people, not just employees.
You can’t get the most out of your employees unless they trust you. So get busy earning their trust!