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Is your trust factor slipping? 5 tips to increase employee trust

4 min read


Trust is a key element in all human interactions. Nowhere is it more important than in a work environment. Yet, often leaders pay little attention to how actions affect trust.

If leaders aren’t mindful of these actions, they can soon lose the trust of their employees. When that happens, teamwork, communications and performance suffer. Employee dissatisfaction, lower productivity and higher turnovers increase company costs.

When leaders consciously strive to improve trust, they’ll see an increase in communication. People will reveal more to you and you’ll have greater insight into what’s really happening in your organization. This will help your employees succeed.


You’ll find an increase in teamwork and cooperation. When you establish trust, your employees know you’ll have their back and protect them. Thus, they support you and give more effort and production. You save the company money.

Is your trust factor where it should be? Use these five tips to evaluate your performance and increase employee trust in you and your organization. 

  1. Be aware and involved. First monitor the trust level you have. Trust ebbs and flows with each decision. Listen so you can feel the tone of the workplace. Make it a two-way street so employees feel free to share their concerns. Spend quality time with them and show them that you care with your actions. Be sincere. Be interested in their lives.
  1. Be clear and truthful. Be open to employees about your company’s health and goals. Communicate even when you don’t have an answer or the information they are asking for. When you share the information you have — or are open that you don’t have the information — it helps people know you are aware of the issues and are keeping the dialogue open.
    • Help employees see how their work aligns with the company goals.
    • Stop the rumor mill with clear communication.
    • Show your trust for employees.
    • Tell the truth, even when it’s bad news.
    • Be transparent about what is happening.
  1. Show competence. You need to be good at your job. When you are competent, your employees respect you more and that generates trust. Update your skills but don’t feel you must be an expert in all things. Be willing to learn from your employees. When you show them you want to learn from them, that also increases trust. They see you aren’t letting ego get in the way of your own learning.
  1. Encourage and empower. Have an inclusive attitude of working together rather than the dictator commanding from the top. Empower employees to succeed through encouragement along with specific expectations and a clear understanding of how performance will be measured. Look for and praise small improvements, not just large ones.
  1. Avoid favoritism. Favoritism quickly destroys any sense of equality, value of work, and fairness. It invites distrust and disengagement. Bitterness spoils cooperation. You may not be able to — nor should you– treat everyone the same. But you need to treat each employee in the way that’s best for them to grow and serve the company.

Evaluate your decisions to insure they are even-handed and fair.

It takes conscious effort to insure leaders create a workplace environment of trust. And they must monitor that trust status on a continual basis. However it vastly improves the workplace atmosphere. You’ll see increased cooperation and productivity. It brings better communications and more harmony. Indeed, trust is a tool every leader should value.

Joel Garfinkle is the author of “Getting Ahead: Three Steps to Take Your Career to the Next Level.”  As an executive coach, Garfinkle has worked with Wells Fargo Bank, Cisco Systems, Oracle, Deloitte, Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Starbucks, Citibank and The Ritz-Carlton. Subscribe to his Fulfillment@Work newsletter (10,000+ subscribes), and you’ll receive a free e-book, “41 Proven Strategies to Get Promoted Now!”

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