Which Side of Trust Are Your Leaders On?
Recent research shows that less than 50% of employees trust in leadership, and less than 33% believe CEOs are a trustworthy source of information. If you wonder “so what,” here is your answer:
Based upon the results of analyzing over half a million employee engagement responses per year over the last 15 years, one area stands out as having the highest correlation to high levels of employee engagement compared to any other — the ability of leaders to build trust.
So what? Companies with higher levels of employee engagement report:
- 18% greater productivity
- 12% higher customer satisfaction
- 51% less voluntary turnover
Simply stated, when employees trust their leaders, they are more highly engaged which translates directly to greater productivity, happier customers, and less turnover. What is not to like?
How Do You Inspire Trust as a Leader?
Trust is the basis for strong, healthy relationships. It is based on acting with integrity. When you do the right things in the right way for the right reasons, you are behaving in a principled way. Integrity in a building depends on its having a solid, sound foundation. Integrity in a leader means they act in alignment with solid, sound values that are strongly held.
What Does Behaving with Integrity Look Like?
Leaders who believe that trust is the cornerstone for positive employee engagement need to examine their behaviors and look for any kinks in their armor. Here are some examples of what behaving with integrity looks like in the real world.
- You do what you say you will do. Empty promises breed distrust and fall on fallow ground.
- You are honest and straightforward in your communications. You tell the truth and own up to your own mistakes.
- You are genuine and do not try to act in an inauthentic way. You know who you are and are consistent and transparent in your words and actions.
- You are respectful of others even when they are different in background and thought.
- You are steadfast in doing right even when under performance pressure.
- You have compassion for your employees and strive to be kind and understanding.
Some Tips on Earning Trust
First, you need to be honest with yourself. Reflect on how you behave at work and think about relationships that may have suffered because of a lack of trust in you. Here are some ways to earn trust back:
- Stand by your commitments, even the little ones. This means arriving on time to meetings, adhering to deadlines and budgets, and replying to emails and phone calls as promised.
- Show respect for your colleagues by listening well and by reacting appropriately and without anger.
- Be transparent in your communications regarding opportunities as well as risks.
- Take responsibility for broken relationships. Apologize, admit your part in the upset, and pledge to do better going forward.
The Bottom Line
Leaders own responsibility for whether or not their employees trust them. Are you doing all you can to earn their trust and captain a ship that’s headed for success?
To learn more about how to create trust in leadership, download 29 More Ways to Build and Maintain Trust as a Leader