Managers Need To Become A Leader That Their Team Can Trust

Trust is the key to getting team commitment
Trust is the key to getting team commitment
Image Credit: Neal Sanche

If there is one workplace problem that managers want to find a way to solve, it would most definitely be the challenge of disengaged employees. What managers would like to learn how to do would be to understand how to use our manager skills to better motivate employees and how to get more manager training on how to build better relationships with those employees. So the big question is what is the manager factor that is most closely linked to employee engagement? Interestingly enough, the answer turns out to be when employees feel they can trust their manager. As managers, how can we make this happen?

Listen To Your Team And Then Act On What You Hear

Taking the time to communicate well with your team is one of the most important things that a manager can do. We can fail at this job when we don’t do a good job of communicating and when we don’t do a good job of listening.

All too often what we don’t realize is that listening isn’t waiting for your turn to talk. Instead, listening happens when we commit to absorbing what the other person is saying and sending signals that we understand them (a knowing smile, a head nod, etc.). Once we’ve done this, we then need to take the next step. We need to act on what the person has said. When we visibly do this it will send the clear message that you’ve been actively listening – and that what you heard had an impact. When you can do this, your team will trust that you’ll listen in the future and will trust you more in general.

Always Give Credit Where Credit Is Due

If you want your team to start to trust you, you are going to have to make sure that you behave correctly when good things happen. What this means is that you need to be the one who does not hog all of the credit. However, at the same time when you are handing out credit, make sure it’s warranted. Managers that hand out praise for every small thing to every single team member end up eroding trust almost as fast as the when they don’t hand it out – so make the handing out of credit both warranted and worthy.

One thing that a lot of us don’t do well is to humbly and graciously take credit when it’s bestowed upon you. Yes, I know that avoiding credit up to a point is admirable, but you don’t want to be disingenuous if you and everyone else know that you were an integral part of the thing you’re receiving credit for.

Show That You Care About People’s Career As Much As They Do

As managers, we spend a lot of time trying to manage our careers so that we can be as successful as possible. When we are doing this, it can be all too easy for us to forget that the members of our team have careers that they care about also.

What this means is that you need to talk to employees about their career. You have to understand what they want out of their career. They may not fully understand what they want and so you will have to help them articulate what they want, not what they’re supposed to want. One thing that you can do for them is to have a career marketing plan for them where you plot out who their key career influencers are and how and when to target them with what exposure.

Show That You Mean It By Practicing What You Preach

Your team is always going to be watching you. What they will be looking for is to make sure that you are walking the walk. That you are doing what you are telling them that they should be do. In a word, they are looking for congruency.

When you say one thing but do another, it creates an incongruency – this is not team building. If you make the mistake of doing this, then people will try to make sense of who you really are and what your agenda really is. That’s not where you want them spending their energy. As managers we need to keep in mind that when the words don’t match the pictures, trust can exit stage left.

What All Of This Means For You

One of the biggest challenges that each of us has as a manager is that we’d like every member of our team to be fully engaged. However, that can be difficult to make happen. Studies have shown that in order to ensure that team members will remain engaged, we need to find ways to get them to trust their managers. The big question then becomes how to build that level of trust?

One of the most important things that a manager can do is to take the time to really listen to what the members of their team are telling them – and then act on what they have heard. When good things happen, as a manager you need to make sure that you give out credit when it is well deserved. Do not hog it all for yourself. Every member of your team is thinking about their career and in order to get them to trust you, you need to show them that you are also thinking about their career. When you tell your team to do something, you need to make sure that they can see you doing what you told them to do so that they will trust you.

Trust is a very delicate and powerful thing. Every manager wants their team to learn to trust them. However, many of us don’t know what what we have to do in order to build this kind of trust. If we follow these suggestions, we’ll be able to create that delicate thing called trust and this will allow the members of our team to become fully engaged in what they are doing.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: How do you think that you could measure the amount of trust that your team has in you?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

One of the key manager skills that we need to have is the ability to communicate with our team. There are a number of different ways that we can go about doing this. When we have something that we need to share with a group of teammates, the way that we most often go about doing this is by holding a meeting. These meetings have never been something that anyone has looked forward to, but in the past everyone has gone along with them. The arrival of digital devices has changed the game – people may be attending your meeting, but they are not really there. What should the etiquette for a modern meeting be?