I Can’t Trust My Employees to Get Things Done Without Me

This world cannot function without trust. It is the basis any form of relationship whether professional or personal. Likewise, in a business setting, there should be trust between employees and managers. Above all, trust must exist between the business and its clients. Therefore, it is important to trust your employees. After that, they will begin to trust you more.

As you earn the trust of your employees, they’ll strive to keep yours as well. They will go the extra mile to satisfy customers. Also, they will be more likely to reach their full potential.

In other words, trust drives the way your team behaves toward customers. As a result, it forms the foundation for true customer loyalty. You won’t have loyal customers without first having loyal employees… Because trust works both ways.

If you have a habit of micromanaging things in your business, stop. You are doing more harm than good. You are creating more problems than you are solving. Micromanagement reduces employee freedom. More importantly, it actually builds distrust in the workplace.

Micromanagers are usually irritated when subordinates make decisions without consulting them. Employees easily recognize micromanagers. However, those guilty of micromanaging rarely see themselves in that light.

Several years ago, 37% of CEOs were concerned about a lack of trust in businesses, according to the PwC Annual Global CEO survey. Across industries, that number has climbed to 55%.

“Untrusting managers damage morale and productivity,” says Sue Bingham, content writer in Harvard Business Review. According to her, a high level of trust between managers and employees defines the best workplaces and drives overall company performance and revenue. As Stephen Covey writes in The Speed of Trust, “When trust goes down (in a relationship, on a team, in an organization, or with a partner or customer), speed goes down and cost goes up.… The inverse is equally true: When trust goes up, cost goes down, and speed goes up.” Because less than 50% of lower-level (nonexecutive, non managerial) employees trust the companies they work for, employers have to carefully consider how they can build trusting relationship with their employees.

Hiring is the cornerstone of trust. As a leader, you must hire people you trust to get the job done. When hiring new employees don’t just assume their character based on their technical skills and knowledge. Ask them questions that will help you determine their value. Including behavior-based questions in the interview will help you understand if someone’s personal attributes might compromise the candidate’s integrity. The most successful companies look well beyond technical competence and hire candidates that are the best fit for the organization.

If you can’t trust people to get things done in your absence, then why hire them at all?

That leads us to some common trust issues. Opportunistic people take advantage of others. They’ll use your kindness to their own gain. You may encounter these people in both your personal and professional life. And you’re bound to come across more. Your past experiences can lead you to become cynical and it can manifest negative assumptions about others, causing you to micro manage. Some managers withhold important information and create senseless rules and policies, causing even the best employees to lose trust and passion for their job.

In order for your employees to start trusting you, as a leader, you must trust them first. Let go of your negative assumptions about them. Assign them challenging tasks or projects and trust them to get it done. Don’t withhold any information, assuming people will misuse it. You can always guide them whenever needed.

When you demonstrate positive assumptions, employees will reciprocate. A manager’s action or decision that might normally be questioned is accepted because employees trust that there is more to the story. This will ease the stress and strain a new policy might put on them.

Always aim to treat everyone on your team fairly. If you ever worked for a manager who played favorites in the organization, then you know firsthand how destructive this approach can be for morale. This is something you must avoid. Otherwise, you’ll find it is another key reason why employees lack trust in you and the company.

Employees want to know they can trust you enough to come to you when some problem arises. If the trouble is caused by an employee you favor the most, the others will not be forthcoming with the truth. You’ll be blindsided for too long before everything goes down the drain. Try to be transparent about your take on this. When the employees are treated fairly, their trust in you and the organization will not only grow, but they will respect you for it. They’ll respond in kind.

Lack of trust has a negative affect on employee performance. It reduces transparency and communication. Reduced transparency and communication leads to low innovation and lack of agility and responsiveness to changing conditions. When employees lack trust in leadership they often avoid communicating with them out of fear of retaliation. The worst part is that customers sense this and, as a result, lose trust in your organization.

In simple words, learn to trust your employees first. Sometimes, as a leader or a manager, you have to take that risk and take a step toward them. Be clear in your communication and let them know your expectations. Be as transparent as possible. Openly address issues and concerns whenever they arise. Remember, employees will never work to their full potential if there are trust issues.

To build trust within your organization and earn the trust and loyalty of your customers, contact us.