QUESTION: I am a newly hired supervisor and would like to build trust with my employees quickly. Can you offer any tips?
ANSWER: You can’t rush trust, but here are a few tips to prevent setbacks. 1) Do what you say you are going to do. Employees have memories like elephants for promises made by supervisors. 2) Communicate frequently, not just when there is big news, good or bad. Communication is the only way employees will discover what you want them to know about you, so the more frequent, the better. 3) Act appropriately with employees, but avoid being reserved, aloof, remote, or a conformist. Let them see the real you, and use opportunities like birthdays or special occasions to express your sentiments to individuals. 4) When possible, do not harbor negative news and then drop it on employees at “the right time.” Try to first prepare employees for what might be coming. 5) The more employees who see you and talk with you individually and in groups, the more trust will build. Many chief executive officers who understand this principle teach in-house courses or hold seminars on leadership, communication, and networking skills that any employee may attend. They build trust and their reputations flourish as a result.
Adapted from Frontline Supervisor June 2013