Why, then, do almost 90 percent of leaders rate so poorly on measures of trust? Whether or not your leaders are trustworthy or not, it doesn’t take much to create an atmosphere of distrust. But the solutions aren’t as complicated as one might think.
To improve your connection to people and build trust, try these techniques:
1. Go on a walkabout: Walk around the office each day to touch base with individual contributors to your company’s success. While email and group meetings are important, one-on-one “face time” is critical.
2. Capture vital statistics: Learn about each employee’s life: spouse’s name, children’s names and ages, major hobbies. Use questions to elicit meaningful information: “Where are you from?” or “What do you do on your days off?”
3. Find similarities: Instead of focusing on differences, find mutual interests (hobbies, desires, career goals).
4. Ask for ideas and feedback: Trust must already be established for people to be honest with you. Ask what they need to perform their jobs better. Acknowledge that you hear their opinions and will think about what they’ve said. Don’t dismiss or argue the merits of their input; offer a simple and genuine “thanks for sharing that”.
5. Acknowledge progress and milestones: In many organizations, problems are solved, barriers are surmounted, tasks are completed – and nothing is noted. People crave acknowledgment and recognition, so seize these opportunities to build trust. Celebrate progress. Don’t let it slip by unnoticed.