It used to be that managers were dictators, persuading their staff to get work done by using force or money.
But these days, managers are realising that if you want to get the best out of employees, you need get them to want to do good work, and one of the best ways of doing that is to get them to trust you.
You’ll need good powers of persuasion and high levels of emotional intelligence.
Here are five tips on getting your employees to trust you:
Show your employees that you’re human
All the great leaders are strong and capable – it means they often know how to find solutions to problems.
But if you come across as too strong, your employees might see you as distant and unapproachable.
That’s not good when they have a problem or a great idea, because they’ll feel like they can’t talk to you about it.
Let them know you’re human every so often by showing them when you make mistakes or when you find something difficult.
Learn from your heroes, but don’t copy them
Everybody has at least one person they really admire, and try to copy their good qualities.
It’s okay learning from others, but it’s bad when you try to actually be them.
You can implement some of the good qualities and strategies used by your heroes, but it shouldn’t completely replace your own personality.
Your employees will see straight through you, and will automatically distrust you.
Give your employees feedback
Giving feedback means praising employees when they do particularly good work, but it also means letting them know when they need to improve.
It doesn’t, however, mean telling them off.
You’ll probably hate the idea of having to give negative feedback, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Most people want to do a good job, and they want to improve.
Giving them feedback doesn’t have to be negative, because showing them where they’ve gone wrong is an opportunity for them to improve, which they’ll appreciate in the long run.
Give yourself feedback
Your employees aren’t the only people in your business who make mistakes and could make improvements.
However, it can be difficult to give yourself feedback because it’s almost impossible to see yourself objectively.
You’ll need an outside perspective – ask your employees to evaluate you.
Obviously, they might be too scared to give any criticisms straight to your face, so get them to do it anonymously in writing, typed so that you can’t work out their handwritings.
You’ll probably be shocked at the difference between how you see yourself and how others see you, but it’s a great place to start when trying to improve yourself.
Don’t lie to your employees
You can’t expect your employees to trust you if you make a habit of lying to them.
And if they know you’re lying to them, it will be extremely difficult to ever gain their trust back.
It doesn’t mean you should disclose confidential information, or anything that could compromise the integrity of the business, but that doesn’t mean you should lie instead – just be honest and let them know it’s something you’re unable to talk about.
They’ll appreciate it more if you know something but can’t tell them rather than if you just lied to their faces.
Shoaib Aslam is the co-founder of Pearl Chartered Accountants, a UK-based chartered accountancy firm that has multiple locations across London. They are experts in helping startups and established businesses with all aspects of growth, strategy, scaling up, accounting and tax planning.