How to Begin the Process of Building Trust as a New Manager
Certainly trust is a word that is baked into successful relationships between a salesperson and a customer. Trust should also be the bedrock of all successful relationships in the workplace…between individuals on a team, between workers and their manager, between leaders and their followers and, ultimately, between the CEO and the workforce.
The best way to set yourself up to succeed as a new manager is to set as your top priority the engendering and fostering of trust. With trust, your team will communicate openly and you will know what is going on in their hearts and minds.
Here is how to begin the process of building trust as a new manager:
- Establish a personal connection with each team member
From a professional point of view, you want to know what motivates your direct reports, their strengths and weaknesses, their career aspirations and how they like to be recognized for work above and beyond. From a personal point of view, find out how they like to spend their time away from the workplace. What are their hobbies or special interests…time with family, travel, hiking, music, sports? Surely you can find some interest you share or you can be a good listener to learn something new.
- Set clear performance and cultural expectations and then let go
Work with each employee to chart their course…exactly what their job entails, the standards of behavior and the measures of performance. Then give them some space to do their work. Be available for questions and to listen to concerns but beware of micromanaging…it’s a surefire way to undermine trust. Show you have faith in their abilities and in their commitment to their work and they will deliver.
- Share information
Keep your team well informed on the company…its current situation as well as its future goals. As a manager, there may be some things you should not divulge but they should be few. Your team wants to know how they are doing, how the rest of the company is doing, and where they fit into the company’s strategic plan. By shining the light on this information you show that you trust your team to handle both good and bad news well. Set an example of telling the truth…always.
- Treat team members fairly
If you have ever been on a team where the manager played favorites, you know how demoralizing and toxic that behavior can be. Watch yourself carefully to see that you treat your employees in an even-handed way and always with respect.
- Be authentic
As a new manager, you will not have all the answers. Don’t pretend to know more than you do…you will be quickly found out. Show an eagerness to grow in your job, be willing to learn from others and don’t neglect your own continued development. As long as you are competent to lead the team, remember that a little humility goes a long way to earn the trust of your employees.
- Have their back
Even when there has been a failure, do not point the finger of blame. Your job is to support and protect your team. Be accountable for the team’s failures as well as for their successes. Work as a team toward doing better next time.