The fundamental underpinning for life itself is trust. If people didn’t have trust, they wouldn’t even get up in the morning. Think about it. Your employee trusts the floor is going to hold them up when they get out of bed. They trust their car won’t explode as they drive to your building. And ultimately, your employee trusts you and your leadership of your company. Or do they? And how would you know either way?
The thing is, sometimes floors collapse (eating one too many boxes of Girl Scout cookies does not help), cars explode (The Pinto, people. The Pinto) and employees sometimes don’t trust a single, stinking word you say. That is a nasty problem that can end up destroying your company.
If you want your company to achieve the greatest (or even a modicum) of success, you need people you can trust and who trust you. You can easily pick out the people you trust (simply listen to your gut), but how do you pick out the people who trust you? Here are 5 ways:
1. Do you trust them? – Trust is based upon reciprocity. Trust begets trust. If you can trust them, chances are they can and will trust you. Do you believe them when they talk? Are they honorable in the workplace and out? Can you see yourself telling them a secret and knowing they wouldn’t tell a soul? If so, they probably feel the same way about you.
2. Small demonstrations – Do they confide small things in you? If they confide in you the little things, they would ultimately move toward bigger things, too. This is a good hint that they trust you. We are often willing to tell people we trust details of our lives, especially if we know that person won’t tell others.
3. Personal stories – The most vulnerable part of a person is their personal life. Messing up in the workplace is not nearly as vulnerable of a story as messing up in a marriage. If they share their personal stories (even if just small ones), you can guarantee they trust you. People share their personal lives with those they trust.
4. Non-Replaceables – Do they give you control over things that can’t be replaced. Maybe they let you borrow their autographed CD, or some other one of a kind effect. Lending something that can’t be replaced is a major demonstration of trust. You wouldn’t let just anyone borrow your prized possessions, and neither would they.
5. Do they trust others? – People have natural, varying degrees of trust. Some people are naturally more trusting then others. If your employees clearly trust each other, they likely trust you, too.
Having employees who trust you and the leadership of your company are like treasure. They are important, priceless, and should be held on to. People often drop hints as to whether or not they trust you, so look for them. Find the people who trust you, and whom you can trust, and your company’s foundation will be strong!
And, perhaps the most important key of determining if employees trust you, is to simply know this. People trust those who are trustworthy. So, the question comes back to you. Are you trustworthy?