When you want to build a successful team in your company, mutual trust is one of the most important components. Every team member must trust that the others have their best interests at heart and want to complete the project. When employees feel like their manager trusts them, they feel valued and motivated to perform at their best. When employees feel comfortable with their manager, they’re more likely to accept the manager’s decisions regarding the team.
But developing trust between people is difficult. Many people don’t immediately and completely trust each other. Trust is built up between two people over a period of time. It must be developed and consistently maintained. Experts have discussed ways to build trust in the workplace and why trust is the key component to making employees feel safe.
One great tip for managers is to ask employees open-ended questions and don’t assume you know the answers. An open-ended question is anyone that can’t be answered with a simple “Yes” or “No.” Ask employees for their opinions, their expertise, and their input. Doing this is a good way to show that you value them and want to hear their perspective.
The next key piece of advice is to show vulnerability. A vulnerable person is exposing themselves to potential ridicule or harm. It’s easier to form a trusting bond when people have been vulnerable with each other. An easy means of doing this is by using an icebreaker at a meeting. Introduce yourself and share a humorous story that paints you in a slightly self-deprecating light.
Managers must also be very careful about the nonverbal cues and body language they give off. Some researchers believe that over half of human communication doesn’t involve speech at all. Trust is built between people even when they aren’t speaking. If your posture looks threatening or your movements seem angry, your employees are likely to become nervous around you. Similarly, if your body language is dismissive or irritable, employees will assume that you don’t want to hear them speak.
The last component for building mutual trust is to make sure you promote honesty and fairness in the workplace. As a manager, you have control over the environment, so you need to make sure it’s a healthy one for your employees.