5 ways to cultivate a culture of trust

Trust is an essential factor in an organization's overall success. But many workers say they do not feel trusted by their leaders, and when that's the case, productivity and engagement can suffer, according to the Harvard Business Review.

Employees who don't feel trusted by leaders tend to exert less effort, are less productive and are more likely to quit. On the other hand, employees who feel they have their boss's trust are usually willing to put in extra effort and work beyond their job description. When employees feel trusted by leaders, they have more confidence in the organization and perform at a higher level.

But people must feel trusted to trust in the organization and its leaders. Here are five things managers can do to signal trust in their employees, according to Harvard Business Review.

1. Assess current trust levels. Evaluate the practices and policies in your organization. From an employee's perspective, do they engage employees or seem to protect the organization from them?

2. Loosen the reins. It is the leader's job to initiate trust between management and employees. That entails gaining employees' trust, but also conveying trust in them. Do so by granting authority and assignments to staff, and not undermine it in the future. Giving up some control also means expanding tolerance for mistakes. Instead of taking swift corrective action, show employees how they can learn and grow from them.

3. Communicate openly. Communicating honestly and transparently is an essential tenet of trust. Being transparent shows a leader trusts employees with the truth, even under trying circumstances.

4. Create change. If employees across the organization feel distrusted by leadership, perhaps it is time to create a systemwide change. This could come in the form of creating employee committees tasked with designing and executing strategies for various projects, or increasing their autonomy in other structural ways.

5. Invest in employees. Investing in employees' careers and development signals confidence and trust in them. And, as managers know, successful individuals create successful teams.

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