“If only my staff trusted me more.” I regularly hear this statement from managers who lament the lack of trust in their relationships with staff. They know that without trust, they won’t be able to get the results they hope for. Although most managers I meet do realize that trust is important, they struggle with how to develop it.
After conducting a 20-question survey for our new book, The Culture Question, my co-authors and I made an important discovery about how to develop trust. The research revealed the strongest correlation to be between leaders who have established trust and leaders who have demonstrated that they care. From this, we concluded that the best way to develop trust is to care about employees.
Every day there are opportunities to show we care about employees. This can be done by simply asking about weekend plans or showing interest in others. Sometimes, however, there are more significant ways to show we care. In the last few months, an ACHIEVE staff member’s husband became very ill, and another had their bike stolen from our bike rack. In each of these situations, I intentionally and thoughtfully considered how I would show I care for these staff. In demonstrating I care about their wellbeing and misfortune, I am confident I have also solidified our trusting relationship. Of course, it’s also important to show that we care in a genuine way. If not, the demonstration of care will have the opposite effect – staff will lose trust in us.
My encouragement to all leaders is to recognize the connection between trust and caring leadership. When opportunities arise to show we care, we must rise to the moment and show we are genuine in our actions!
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