3 Ways to Build Trust as a Leader

Trust is at the core of all successful working relationships. More than ever, workers need to believe they can trust their leaders to make decisions that will provide job security and create a safe working environment for everyone. As organizations begin to recover from the COVID-19 restrictions and shutdowns, leaders must consider how to build (or re-build) trust with their teams. 

Why Is Trust Important? 

In his book, The Speed of Trust, Stephen Covey explains that “Without trust, we don’t truly collaborate; we coordinate— or at best, cooperate. It is trust that transforms a group of people into a team.” When leaders take time to build trust, it improves morale and motivation, decreases stress and conflict in the workplace, and increases productivity. When teams trust each other, they are more likely to share ideas, think outside the box, and solve problems effectively. In addition, trusting workplaces see less employee turnover and can attract top talent based on their reputation. 

How Can Leaders Build a Culture of Trust? 

  1. Be Transparent. Nothing erodes trust as quickly as being kept in the dark about why certain decisions are made. Employees want to understand why they are asked to do what they do and how it adds value to the organization. Encourage questions and ideas from all team members and when facing challenges, include them in the problem-solving process to ensure they feel like part of the solution. 
  2. Trust your team. Trust is a two-way street. If employees feel micro-managed and overly restricted by supervisors, they will not feel trusted and will be unlikely to extend trust to managers or co-workers. Allow employees to make decisions and get the job done in the way they think is best, and they will be more likely to innovate and collaborate effectively. 
  3. Own your mistakes. Trustworthy leaders can admit their mistakes and show authenticity. A leader who can admit they were wrong and role model how to recover from a mistake to move forward will inspire their team to do the same. When employees see their managers are approachable and reasonable, it creates a psychologically safe environment that will encourage creativity and innovation. 

Simon Sinek once said, “A team is not a group of people who work together. A team is a group of people who trust each other.” Building a culture of trust takes time and effort, but organizations that do it well will reap the rewards. If you or your team is facing challenges when it comes to building trust, consider Crestcom’s Leadership Development program covering 24 core leadership topics including Trust: The Leadership Differentiator with featured expert Sylvie Di Giusto.