As a manager, you don’t want to spend your energy worrying about whether your team members are on board. Questioning trust is a resilience drainer in how it affects your and the team’s energy. Knowing where your folks land on your trust scale creates an easier path for everyone; more importantly, it identifies where you can spend energy to build trust.
The other day, I talked to an executive who told me that she was concerned that her staff is taking advantage of working from home and that they are not always available as she would expect them to be. When she texts or emails them for information on a project, it sometimes takes them a few days to get back to her. In the “old days,” she told me, she would “just walk on down to their office , chat for a bit and then find out the answers to her questions.” Now, access is more difficult and the time together lacks the social connections.
I asked her how they were performing, and she said their performance was good, but she didn’t see them putting in the little bit of extra that she knows makes the difference between good and really good.
One of the essential pieces of Pandemic research is that employee effectiveness is very much contingent on their relationship with their manager; employees and managers who have a high level of trust report that they are twice as likely to be with the company one year from today. Folks with low levels of trust are not only planning to leave but may have already disengaged from their work.
If you as a manager are questioning whether you trust your employees, try this exercise:
- Start two piles on your desk labeled “Trust” and “Don’t Trust.”
- Write down the names of your team members and assign them to one side or the other.
- On the back of each sheet of paper with your team member’s name, answer the following question.”
- Why do I trust this person? Or why don’t I trust this person?
- As you review your findings, pay particular attention to the people you trust and ask why. While it certainly relates to them, it also relates to you, so consider what actions you are taking that build trust for you and them.
Building trust is an ongoing process, and with the right strategies and support, you can cultivate a resilient team that thrives in any work setting and answers the call when needed.
Next week, I’ll discuss how to determine the trust level of your team members before, we move on to how you can help the team strengthen their trust and commitment and greater resilience.
© Richard Citrin 2023