Can your team count on you? 5 tips for building trust

Employee job satisfaction has become an increasingly important metric for understanding the overall well-being of a company’s workforce, as satisfaction is often a driver in increasing morale and productivity, and reducing turnover.

Many factors influence job satisfaction, but one key element is trust. According to a 2017 survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 61% of employees rated trust between them and management as very important to job satisfaction.

Unfortunately, only 33% of respondents were satisfied with the level of trust in their organizations. That’s not great news, but all hope is not lost. Trust can be earned with some patience and daily effort on your part.

Keep these five tips in mind while you work to build mutual trust among your team.

Tip #1: Be transparent.

One of the most powerful ways to build trust is by openly and honestly communicating with employees.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t practice tactfulness when delivering feedback, but you should avoid dancing around difficult topics. This is especially important when employees ask you direct questions about the status of projects or the business in general. You should communicate as directly as possible with employees and explain what’s going on and how it impacts them.

Tip #2: Admit to mistakes and share credit.

Many people, including supervisors, have difficulty accepting responsibility for a mistake. Good leaders understand the power in leading by example, owning up to mistakes, and then rectifying them.

Similarly, when something goes well, a good leader will thank everyone on the team instead of accepting thanks and recognition alone. When employees trust that you will credit them for their work, they will be more motivated to do the work.

Tip #3: Keep your promises.

Simply put, employees don’t trust managers who don’t follow through on their commitments. If you are not certain of the outcome of a situation, whether it is budget allocation for a new project or the outcome of an interdepartmental conflict, do not make promises you cannot keep. It is far better to under-promise and over-deliver than the other way around.



Tip #4: Be consistent.

Treat all employees fairly, and consistently enforce company policies. Employees will notice inconsistency, and gossip about favoritism can quickly erode trust not only with you, but also among team members jockeying for position with you.

Tip #5: Show trust.

Trust goes both ways. Showing that you have trust and faith in your employees’ abilities, talents, and judgment inspires them to trust you. Demonstrate your trust in them by delegating key projects and recognizing achievements.

Kyra Kudick is an associate editor at J. J. Keller & Associates Inc. She specializes in employment law/HR issues such as employee relations, hiring and recruiting, and training and development. For more information, visit and

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