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How to Build Trust in the Workplace and on Your Team

How to Build Trust in the Workplace and on Your Team

Delegating Effectively Requires Building & Keeping Trust

You’ve likely encountered a situation where you’re unhappy with one of your team members. You’d like to delegate a task to them but are hesitating.

The employee may be likable and even work hard, but the work has problems. Now, you’re wondering if he or she can handle an important project.

At its core, not wanting to delegate is an issue of trust. Can you trust this individual to get the job done?

Whether you’re dealing with an individual or an entire team, knowing how to build and keep trust is crucial to effective leadership. How do you build trust in the workplace on your team?

Consider the 3 Dimensions of Trust

Part of trusting someone is being familiar with their previous work. Trust is built on evidence and consistency.

In the case of your problem employee, think through specific examples of concerning behaviors. Consider the 3 dimensions of trust:

1. Ability

Does this person have the skills and tools needed to do the job? Maybe your problem employee needs skill-specific training or certain resources to perform better.

2. Integrity

Does this person share the same values and expectations for this project as you do? Managers must be clear about their expectations and make sure employees understand those before a project begins. Along those same lines, team values must be understood by every member of a team.

3. Loyalty

Based on previous encounters, can the employee confide in you when conflicts arise? Managers need to show that they care enough to understand and appreciate important concerns.

Infographic: 3 Dimensions of Trust in the Workplace Model (Venn diagram with Ability, Loyalty, and Integrity)

Remember, too, that building trust in the workplace with your team is a 2-way street. You must be trustworthy yourself for your team members to feel comfortable committing to the team and the project.

If you’re sure that you’ve behaved in a trustworthy fashion, then you can have a candid, productive conversation about your team members’ behaviors.

Talk About the Trust Issue

Once you understand the dimensions of the problem, it’s easier to have an honest conversation with a team member or colleague. Here are some phrases that help start the conversation out in a productive way:

  • “I’d like to talk about something that’s concerning me.”
  • “May we talk about your work on the project?”
  • “I need to explore with you where we are on the project.”

It’s important to address problem employee behaviors in a way that shows the employee genuine support — demonstrating your loyalty. Then, you can discuss a solution to the problem, such as pairing the worker up with a more experienced team member. Finally, set up a method for creating accountability and delegating workloads effectively.

Honest, open discussions about trust set the stage for deeper, more productive conversations about team performance and create stronger bonds between leaders and employees.

These steps are essential to building trust in the workplace, and with your team.

Ready to Take the Next Step?

Upskill your people’s ability to build trust in the workplace through delegating effectively with a customized learning journey for your leaders using our research-backed modules. Available leadership topics include Conflict Management, Communication, Delegating Effectively, Listening to Understand, Psychological Safety & Trust, and more.

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November 27, 2020
Leading Effectively Staff
About the Author(s)
Leading Effectively Staff
This article was written by our Leading Effectively staff to help you and your organization's leaders at every level. Want more content like this? Subscribe to our emails to get the latest research-backed articles, webinars, insights, and news about leadership development solutions sent straight to your inbox.

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