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3 Simple Steps to Build Trust

People do better work when they feel trusted. Do they know?

Want to give a gift to your people this holiday season? Tell them you trust them.

A lot of employers are grappling with the question of where work should get done: Home? Office? Hybrid? We’ve all read the data from the past year and a half that shows productivity remains high in a world of remote work. So, these questions may be masking the real issue: do you trust your people to deliver what is needed, no matter where they are working?

Further, a Work 2035 project report, shows that 69% of employees think they’re more productive (by an average of 72%) if they feel that their employer trusts them to get the job done without monitoring their progress.” Simply said, people do better work when they feel trusted.

So, trust matters, and it’s tricky; it’s a simple five-letter word that means different things to different people. As a leader, it’s up to you to ensure your people feel the trust you have in them to figure out the best way to get their work done. Do they KNOW you trust them?

Here are 3 steps to make sure:

  1. Listen, really listen

Take a minute to quiet the distractions in your mind. Create a hard focus on them, and stay that way. If your mind starts to wander, focus on the last thing they said. Ask them about what they are saying.  Notice what is not being said and give voice to that. What do they think, or see that perhaps, you do not?  When you truly listen to another, you send the message that you care, you respect what they have to say. They feel seen. Listening deeply to another says, “you matter” and “I respect your perspective.”

  1. Let them make big decisions

Be clear about what you want from the people around you and make sure you align why something is important with what is expected.  Then hand over the reins and see what they can do. Given clear context and boundaries, people tend to rise to the occasion, exercise their agency and make good decisions. People are more innovative and take more risks when they feel trusted. So, trust them and see what you learn, about them and about yourself.

  1. Tell them you trust them

It can be easy to take the people around you for granted.  Old patterns can lead you to assume the people around you know not only what you are thinking but also how you feel about them. And they don’t.  It is that simple. Don’t assume that the people who work for you know you trust them. Maybe they do. And maybe they don’t.  So, tell them.  Often.

Trust is the foundation of every meaningful connection and relationship you have. It is essential to healthy working relationships – whether those people are working physically right beside you or are thousands of miles away. Practicing these three steps will let your people know you trust them – because you have told them with your words and your actions.