“If you want to improve the organization, you have to improve yourself, and the organization gets pulled up with you.” -Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo.
Earning your employees’ trust and respect is the first step that leads to an engaged workforce. Why is an engaged team so vital? Happy employees generate increased productivity, more efficiency, and greater profits.
How to gain employees’ trust and respect?
A recent poll by Partners In Leadership confirms that when employees are happier at work, 85% say they take more initiative, 73% say they are better team members, and 48% care more about the company’s mission. And according to a Modern Survey study, belief in senior leadership is the most vital engagement driver. As leaders demonstrate they value employees and prioritize their growth, they will create engaged employees and earn respect needed to lead their team.
If you are unsure where to begin or need to start over, there are four key strategies for leaders to build a foundation of trust. You must put the effort in to improve yourself and earn respect; you cannot assume your title will provide it. Start with yourself, get honest feedback on the areas you need to improve, and cultivate change.
Four strategies leaders used to gain trust and respect:
Gratitude is the keystone of building trust. An outdated way of thinking is that it’s unprofessional to bring gratitude or compassion into the workplace. Yet, studies show that appreciation and gratitude are vital to creating the very type of environments people want to work in. One of our most fundamental needs as humans is to feel appreciated.
However, we aren’t great at implementing it at work. Americans are less likely to express gratitude on the job than anywhere else. In one survey, almost all participants reported that saying “thank you” to colleagues made them feel happier and more fulfilled. Yet, only 10% reported expressing gratitude on the job. A stunning 60% of people said they “either never express gratitude at work or do so perhaps once a year.” (John Templeton Foundation, 2013). Leaders and companies who understand the power of employing gratitude create productive, engaged employees.
- Understand how your employees want to be recognized. The International Association of Administrative Professionals found a disconnect between the types of appreciation employees desire and what managers think motivates workers. Managers believed cash and promotions were the kinds of recognition employees wanted. Employees said they preferred a face-to-face “thank you” and having their good work reported to senior management.
- Recognize achievements. It’s easy to reward the star salesperson based on hitting monthly goals. Instead, shine the spotlight on the whole team who worked to generate those sales. Use your social media, company newsletter, email blasts, and in-office displays to promote these wins.
Want to earn respect? Give it. We can all envision the manager who handles stress poorly, is overbearing, and micromanages the team. It creates a toxic environment for workers. Unfortunately, research has found it is a common problem. According to studies by Gallup, the main factor of workplace discontent is not wages, benefits, or hours–but the boss. A survey by Randstad found 28% of employees would choose a better boss over a $5000 raise.
- Begin by getting to know your team on a personal level. View workers as individuals by acknowledging their unique skills and lives outside the office.
- Show colleagues you notice how they are contributing. Be specific and tell them how their attitude, skills, and actions positively impact the company.
- Keep your word. Teach employees they can depend on you to hold up your side of the bargain.
Consistent face-to-face communication creates an environment where employees feel comfortable approaching their boss with innovation and questions. According to a Gallup survey, employees whose managers hold regular meetings with them are almost three times as likely to be engaged.
- Provide consistent feedback. People need to know when they are doing something well and what can be improved.
- For workers to feel fulfilled, they need to understand how their work can lead to career enhancement possibilities. Share and communicate those growth opportunities such as mentorships and advanced education events.
- Take the time to discuss employees’ short and long-term goals and then chart a pathway for success.
When Success Magazine asked followers the best way to show respect to colleagues, 65% responded “listening.” Communication is a two-way street.
Leaders understand one person cannot carry the team alone. The entire team needs to be on board to create the potential for success.
When you communicate the company’s mission, employees are more engaged because they understand why their work matters. A shared dream brings everyone together in pursuit of something beyond profits.
- Setting goals for employees, and the team, gives a road map to track progress toward key results. Goals infuse daily work with a clear purpose. Everyone can see how working together makes greater success possible.
- Delegate duties. When people feel they are trusted and empowered to handle tasks, they support the company’s purpose.
- As a leader, it’s your responsibility to create a team of engaged employees. Effective managers who understand the correlation between higher levels of engagement, happiness, and productivity drive success by improving themselves as leaders first.
As you strengthen your leadership skills, you will earn trust and respect, creating the type of team that stands out.