Atmosphere matters. For your business to truly prosper and your crew and clients to feel satisfied, an atmosphere of trust is essential. It just takes a bit of discipline and adherence to the rule book to keep a business afloat – but if you’re interested in excelling, it is people that you need to invest in, not your ledger book.

Ironically enough, putting people above profit can improve your profits in the long run. Look at the stats:

Quite aside from the fact that treating your colleagues with transparency and respect makes the world a better place, working to build trust in the office is plain good for business.

However, if you’re an entrepreneur driven by the thrill of innovation and the buzz of the sale, those people skills may need a bit of work. It needn’t be complicated to develop trust with your crew, but it does require a commitment to empathetic solutions that work for your employees around the clock, and not just when you or the business stands to profit.

And you need to commit to a two-way channel of communication. That means transparency towards your employees, and the will to listen to them in return. This is a commitment that must be made in the heart, since insincere listening skills will damage trust even further!

Transparency means:

  • Sharing your company goals with your team.
  • Explaining your methods and business model to new employees.
  • Being clear about what you expect from each member of your crew.

Listening means:

  • Being available.
  • Actively enquiring after welfare and progress, and asking open questions.
  • Taking opinions and information on board and responding appropriately – making changes where necessary.

But don’t fall into the trap of believing that transparency and listening are opposites. People aren’t robots, and a good idea on paper doesn’t necessarily work in action. Your working day should be a constant overlap of instruction, discussion, attention, and response. When an employee feels that they have become an organic part of your team in this way, they will sense they are trusted – and invest in your business with their hard work and creativity.

The great thing is that this improved level of engagement on your part can reveal things about your team that you didn’t previously notice. And this in turn can help you to trust them more. Maybe you notice that two colleagues work well together – and you can trust them to collaborate on a project or account.

Or maybe you realize that another employee is underperforming not because they’re inadequate, but because they’re under-stimulated. Trust them with fresh responsibilities and challenges, and they will feel invested in the business.

Finally, never forget that you’re all in it together. Some colleagues spend more waking time with each other than they do with their families. Be open and sociable, but with clear boundaries where appropriate. Don’t forget that your passion for entrepreneurship is tied to your employees’ livelihood. A stable, trusting workplace brings out the best in everyone.

Ready to step up as a ‘Trust Leader’? Check out these ten pointers for increasing trust in your team.

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