Trust is a fundamental aspect of all personal and professional relationships, and in the workplace, trust and openness are especially important.
When employees trust one another, they are more open to collaboration. When employees trust their managers and leaders, they are more open to adopting a growth mindset. And when managers and leaders trust their people, they lead with empowerment.
With a lack of trust cited as one of the most common reasons people leave the workforce, creating a trust-based environment is vital.
In this blog, we share how to create trust and openness in the workplace with expert guidance from leadership coach Simon.
The Benefits of Creating Trust and Openness in the Workplace
From employees to chief executive officers, the benefits of building trust and openness in the workplace are felt on every level.
In addition to enhancing communication and developing effective and high-performance teams, the benefits of creating trust and openness in the workplace include:
Enhanced Employee Well-Being
Employee well-being is at the forefront of many organisations’ operations. From COVID-19 to the cost-of-living crisis, our physical and psychological well-being has been significantly impacted in the last few years.
In addition to external factors beyond our control, internal factors, such as a lack of trust and workplace conflict, has a knock-on effect on our well-being. Yet, when we trust our colleagues and leaders, workplace stress reduces, and our well-being enhances.
Increased Employee Retention
Working within an organisation that fosters and promotes trust and openness doesn’t just benefit our well-being; it increases our desire to stay within our role. A workplace well-being census published by Bupa found that the more we trust our employer, the less likely we are to look elsewhere for work.
Greater Levels of Productivity
Whether you’re leading a small team or a large organisation, it’s vital to consider that your people’s productivity often reflects trust and openness in the workplace. When we trust our employers, we are often inspired to pitch new ideas, try new ways of doing, and think beyond what we currently know.
Similarly, when we feel our colleagues and leaders trust us, we frequently feel empowered to think outside the box, even if we are unsure of the outcome of doing so.
Greater Employee Satisfaction
In addition to increasing employee well-being, retention, and productivity, trust contributes to greater employee satisfaction.
When employees, managers, and leaders trust one another, they look forward to going to work – or working remotely – and take pride in their role within the organisation.
How To Create Trust and Openness in the Workplace
With an understanding of the benefits trust has on the organisation, leadership coach Simon shares his five tips to support you in creating trust and openness in the workplace.
1. Serve Your People First
Greenleaf says that ‘the servant leader is the servant first. It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, then the conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead’. Sharing his expertise, Simon adds that your people must know that no matter what, you will always be there to serve them and have their best interests at heart.
Although building trust and openness within your organisation is not a quick win and takes time, serving your people first is one of the fastest ways to build trust and loyalty.
2. Know Yourself
As a leader, how well do you know yourself? Do you know what your visions, values, and beliefs are? If you do, how do you incorporate these into your day-to-day activities and interactions with your people?
Sharing that leadership is more about being than doing, Simon advises that the more you know yourself and your inner state of activity (values and beliefs) and how this connects to the external world, the more you can leverage trust and openness in yourself, others, and the organisation.
Furthermore, you can continue to inspire your people when you know yourself and your purpose.
3. Learn To Let Go
The workforce is undoubtedly constantly changing. Four years ago, would you have predicted that you’d of spent the best part of 2020, 2021, and 2022 working from home and navigating remote and hybrid workforces? Unless your organisation was already offering this, the answer is probably not.
Just as external factors are constantly changing, the skills leaders require are too. This means that what got you to where you are may no longer be appropriate.
To enhance trust and openness in the workplace, Simon suggests freeing yourself up to look outwards and be more visionary by truly empowering your team.
By letting go, you can foster independent, resilient, and self-managing teams that are:
able and willing to adapt in the moment
open and trusting
4. Solve Problems With The Vision in Mind
When solving problems, it can be easier to focus on solutions that focus on the short-term and the here and now. But Simon proposes that solving problems with the vision in mind can increase trust within the workplace.
Leaders can do this by listening to what the organisation is trying to say and advocating for it. This requires you to look deeply and honestly at other points of view on reality, then integrate with your reason and intuition and commit to the truth.
5. Redefine Failure
“Failure is the key to success; each mistake teaches us something.” – Morihei Ueshiba.
Failure is something that many of us fear. We fear that failing to deliver results, for example, speaks volumes about our abilities, determination, and strength. In actual fact, failure is ‘an event that has not yet been turned to your advantage’.
Contributing to the above, Simon notes that a culture of accepting ‘thoughtful’ failure helps to build a safe psychological environment within which people can grow and develop a learning mindset without the fear of recrimination.
When leaders adopt an empowerment leadership style, they empower their people to try, regardless of the outcome. Instead of viewing an unanticipated result as a failure, they view it as an opportunity for growth and development. The same can be said for leaders who adopt a growth mindset and encourage their people to do the same.
From increasing communication to enhancing productivity, it’s clear why creating trust and openness in the workplace is paramount.
If you’ve noticed conflict and a lack of trust amongst people within your organisation, team coaching can support you in creating it.
Contact us today to learn more about the benefits of team coaching and how we at The Leadership Coaches can assist you.
Co-written by leadership coach Simon and Rebekah.