Bi-directional trust is a fundamental aspect of a healthy employee relationship; without it, the leader, the employee, and the broader team suffer. In this article, the author outlines five steps to take if you’re in the uncomfortable position of not trusting one of your employees: 1) Separate facts from assumptions and focus on specific problematic behaviors. Which component of trust is lacking here? What exactly did this person do or not do that has led to your distrust? 2) Identify the specific situations or assignments where you are willing to trust them. 3) Provide feedback on the specific behaviors that are leading to your distrust. 4) Reflect on what you might be doing (or not doing) to contribute to the situation. 5) Ask yourself whether the breach of trust is irreparable.
Trust is one of the most essential forms of capital a leader can have. When employees trust their leaders, it unleashes higher performance. Employees are more engaged, productive, and innovative. They experience lower levels of stress and burnout and are more likely to stay in their jobs. Good leaders understand these benefits and actively work to earn and develop the trust of their team members and colleagues.