Have backbone; disagree and commit
Leaders are obligated to respectfully challenge decisions when they disagree, even when doing so is uncomfortable or exhausting. Leaders have conviction and are tenacious. They do not compromise for the sake of social cohesion. Once a decision is determined, they commit wholly.
Steps to build a backbone based leadership style
1) Focus On Honesty
If you want to create an organization where everyone trusts one another you need to instill honesty as a focus. Being honest and open about everything that is happening within an organization will allow a culture of trust. Shielding workers from information of any kind for the organization only creates a lack of trust. No matter if the news is bad or good, it should be shared. Otherwise, you’re simply lying to your people and they will ultimately find out, which will cause trust issues. Employees need to trust their organization as much as their teammates. Sadly, in most corporate cultures, employees don’t trust their organizations because of lack of honesty. To be different, instill and follow this from the top down and that will ensure there is no doubt that it is a backbone of what will make your company great.
2) Show Appreciation Every Day
Showing appreciation every day helps employees feel emotionally secure in their jobs and builds a sense of community. Celebrating the small victories along with the big wins is at the heart of our company culture. With hybrid and remote team members working outside the office setting, it can be easy for everyday successes to slip past unnoticed. Everyone enjoys hearing praise for their work. But, far too often, pats on the back only come after a significant score. Recognition in real-time for any job well done boosts emotions and motivates team members to perform better. It’s also a meaningful way to track incremental achievements as they work toward larger goals. Celebrating with verbal praise, thank you notes, and tangible rewards is a great way to increase trust with your employees, boost job satisfaction, and enhance your company culture.
3) Define Everyone’s Role in the Big Picture
For employees to feel like they can trust freely, they need to know that they’re playing an important role in the success of the organization and contributing to something more than just completing mundane tasks. For this reason, it’s of the utmost importance that leaders and managers explain how employee responsibilities play a role in an organization’s workflow and highlight their role in the bigger picture. Only by educating your workforce about the future goals and plans of the organization and where they fit in, can they truly feel like they have something to work towards.
4) Trust Your Team First
It’s true that trust goes both ways – why should your team trust you if you reciprocate that trust? Make it clear that you trust your employees by encouraging autonomy and professional development. Let them sit in on important meetings that they wouldn’t otherwise participate in. Steps like these signal to your employees that they are valued and you trust them, empowering them to show that same trust to you. It also shows your employees that you trust them enough that you don’t have to micromanage everything they do.
5) Use Empathetic Leadership
If you want to build a backbone of trust in your organization, empathetic leadership is important. It can be easy to overlook when employees bring up issues that are bothering them that may not seem like a big deal as a manager. But by practicing empathy, and thinking about how it would make you feel if you were ridiculed, excluded, talked down to, etc. can help you better understand why it may be bothering that person. Don’t be dismissive of employees’ feelings if you want them to stay.
6) Get to Know Your Employees to Improve Communication
Trust is critical to nurture in remote workplaces because there is a physical separation of our whole team and from management to conduct oversight. The remote work model has trust integrated into how roles and workflows function for a business to thrive. We keep in constant contact with our teams to stay on top of growing developments and to make decisions together. Using Slack & Zoom, we help build and maintain trust both with our employees and through peer-to-peer trust-building for our teams. Get to know your employees, and help them get to know each other, by making time for virtual cocktail hours or digital hangouts. These events go a long way in supporting everyone’s experience but doubly in maximizing your employee retention.
7) Follow Through On Your Commitments
If you say you’re going to do something, make sure that you follow through. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s important to keep your word if you want to earn trust from your employees. When you commit to a course of action, make sure that you see it through to the end, even if it’s not easy. And if something unexpected comes up and you can’t keep your commitment, let your employees know as soon as possible. Failing to follow through on your commitments damages trust and can cause employees to lose faith in you.
8) Be Open, Sincere, and Available
Leadership should always be open, sincere, and available. Invite your team to communicate any issues and suggestions. Take accountability for any mishaps or actions taken that may have negatively impacted your team’s spirits or work—this is an excellent way to rebuild trust, as it shows your willingness to think reasonably and improve as a leader. Also, keep an open line of communication to meet with team members. Dedicate some time every week for them to voice any concerns, ask questions, etc. Knowing that their voice matters is vital to an employee, so express to them how valued they are by listening to them. Be, open, sincere, and available—this is how to create a backbone of trust in your organization.
9) Establish a No Gossip Policy
Nothing undermines the authority of workers and organizations like gossip. It kills morale and trust, and has negative effects on productivity and turnover. This is why establishing a no gossip policy is so important. The first incident can be addressed in writing while further non compliance can lead to taking disciplinary actions. Managers play a huge role in handling gossip at the workplace. They should not disclose to the team sensitive information that had been shared in one-on-one talks. Some employees might share gossip with their superiors as a way to show their loyalty. However, such acts are damaging to the team and they set a bad example for everyone. A manager should be highly aware of the larger picture and take adequate action.
10) Allow for Anonymous Feedback
An environment where co-workers and you trust management unconditionally. But things weren’t always like that – trust is built with time. However, there’s one thing that management did right – they listened to feedback. Many companies have feedback practices (surveys, meetings, etc.) but let’s be honest – most of them are just a formality. Taking your employees’ feedback is the backbone of building trust within your organization. So why do companies neglect the power of it? Use an anonymous tool that lets the employees share their thoughts about company structure, policy, values, etc. When you start noticing that management would take feedback into consideration - this resulted in an incredibly positive work environment.