Episode from the podcastThe Boss Hat with Barbara Nixon

The Boss Hat - Episode 5

Released Monday, 11th January 2016
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Hi everyone – thanks for listening today. Hope things are great with you.

Ok – today we’re going to be talking about something that is vital in all relationships and not just in business – and that’s trust. Now, we all know that trust is important right? Without it the relationship is meaningless, and when we’re leading a team it’s just as important as it’s paramount that you trust your team and they trust you. If you don’t have this in place you’ll end up micromanaging and your team will be second guessing everything you suggest and looking for the hidden agenda.

It’s also important that the team trust each other so that you have a cohesive team who are all pulling in the same direction, who support each other and aren’t in competition with each other. By having a team built on trust you’ll be able to stop cliques from forming and people gossiping behind each others backs which leads to a really unhealthy team and let’s face it awful place to work.

Now, we’ll talk about how to build a team in another episode but for today we’re going to be focusing purely on trust. But before I go right in and give you my 3 top tips for building trust I just want to mention that even though we might put in the work to build trust, we also have to put in the work to maintain it. Cos trust is really fragile. It can take ages to build it up, and a second to destroy. So – that’s something to have in the back of your mind. If you’re going to do the work to build up trusting relationship with your team, you also need to make sure you put in the work to maintain it, and that means doing what you say you’re going to do. Being authentic. Being credible. Acting with integrity and keeping your promises.

OK – so, now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about what we can do to build trust.

Tip #1 – is get to know your team

It’s impossible to trust someone you don’t really know – so this should be the very first step. If you think back to someone in your life that you trust – like your partner or a good friend you probably built your trust over time – with the more you got to know them leading to the more you trusted them. This is no different. So, take the time to get to know the individuals in your team. Find out what they get up to outside of work. Find out what they care about and what drives them. What led them to this moment and working with you, and what they hope to do in the future. Find out about what matters to them and what motivates them and about their families, relax in their company and have a laugh and a joke with them…and don’t forget to share the same things about you. Don’t worry that it’ll ruin your credibility. It really won’t. In fact it’ll probably add to it. Everyone knows that we have a life outside work and you’re really no different so let them get to know the person behind the role and behind the job title and let them in on the real you. By doing this you’ll do wonders for improving your working relationship and really build that trust.

Tip #2 – Be consistent

This builds on what we’ve already talked about in tip number 1 where you get to know your team and they get to know you – but this time we’re going a step further and behave in a consistent manner. By this I mean try to avoid erratic behaviour, or inconsistent behaviour where your team don’t know whether you’re going to be in a bad mood or a good mood when you arrive into work, or how you’re going to react when they speak to you. You also want to avoid the scenario where they’re anxious about speaking to you or interrupting you in case you’re in a bad mood so always try to behave in a consistent manner as much as you can. Obviously we all have our ups and downs but as the boss you’re on show all the time and these little changes in behaviour never go un-noticed so be aware of how you’re acting.

The other point to remember in terms of consistency is to keep your promises, as I mentioned earlier, and to keep meetings rather than keep cancelling them. So, let me give you an example. If you’ve got a 1-1 meeting with one of your team and you keep cancelling them or postponing them you’ll get a reputation and it won’t take long for your team to stop trusting you when you arrange them. So – tip number 2 is to be consistent.

And Tip #3 – Share information

Now – I realise that you won’t be able to share absolutely everything with your team, and that;s not what I’m suggesting at all. But this tip is all about avoiding the mushroom analogy…you know the one I’m talking about right….keep in the dark?

When a team feel as though they’re being kept in the dark they’ll either start to jump to their own conclusions –which for the most part will probably be wrong – but they’ll also start to chat about the fact that they don’t know anything and this builds resentment and a lack of trust. It’s also much harder to turn that around when that behaviour starts. Prevention is always better right?

The other thing that’ll happen is that because they won’t know exactly what’s going on it’ll make it harder for them to make decisions without asking you, which will stop them feeling empowered and motivated in their role. They’ll also not feel any sense of ownership or belonging because they’ll feel out of the loop. All of this can be stopped by simply having regular updates and a robust and clear communication strategy where information is shared and discussed. By adding this to your routine you’ll be doing wonders to build up the trust and really stop any ‘them and us’ mentality from forming.

So – just to have a bit of a recap

Tip 1 – Get to know your team and allow them to get to know you too

Tip 2 – Be consistent

Tip 3 – Share information

I’d love to know your tips for building trust in your team. Please share by leaving a comment over at barbaranixon.co.uk and I’ll see you next time.

Have a great week.