Building trust in the workplace is one of the key components to maintaining a good work culture. Here is how you can be a trust-worthy manager for your team.

“When you’re dealing with human beings, nothing is black and white, it’s all different shades of grey” is how Hema Bhandari, a Performance Manager in the aviation sector describes relationships between people. Trust, she says, is a two-way street.

It is important for your team to trust you and for you to trust them. They need to know that you are a leader they can count on and that you will always have their back. If you want your team to come to you with issues, problems, or anything at all, they should be able to trust you. It’s not just advice that they may come looking for, it’s also a way of managing the situation. If they know you are capable, chances are they will open up even more.

Here are some key points for managers to keep in mind in order to build a better relationship and win over the trust of their team.

It’s a give and take relationship

You need to learn to build effective, healthy relationships with your team and also maintain the work ethic. If your team expects you to be understanding and supportive they must also understand that professionalism cannot be compromised on. More than the relationships you hope to build, you must impress on them that their individual work ethic is aligned to the company vision.

Empower for ownership of actions

Empower your team to act and make decisions. If they come to you with any issue, have a discussion and talk about the different options available. They learn the art of decision-making in this way. You are teaching them to act and take responsibility and know the consequences of their actions. You should also empower people to speak up when they feel they have been wronged, or when they feel accurate information is not being relayed. Issues or problems can be nipped in the bud and dealt with at the managerial level instead of them being escalated. Team members also appreciate that.

Show compassion towards diverse team members

When you are dealing with different nationalities or cultures, what could be very normal to you, could come across as rude to them. It is important to encourage your team to speak up if they find something uncomfortable or inappropriate. Hema mentions that different cultures have different ideas of acceptable behavior. To gain the trust of your team member from a different culture, it is wise to ask and gauge the comfort of the individual before assigning collective tasks with other members. Striking informal conversations to understand more about the culture may also help in making the individual feel safe at work.

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Drop the ‘boss’ attitude

Impressions are important. Don’t act or feel like you are higher up than your team members and so you can throw your weight around. If you see your team is busy and one of them needs help, step in and pick up the slack. Be prepared and set an example yourself. They will respect you for it and it will help them turn to you.

Own up your mistakes

If you as a manager make a mistake, own up to it. Apologize when you are wrong. Do not make excuses. Siddhika Naik, General Manager Marketing at Piramal Enterprises Ltd. says, “We are so used to making excuses that it comes automatically and this is incorrect. Set an example for your team by doing the right thing. Every action you take is about inspiring your team. When they finally become managers, they will incorporate all they have learned from you.”

She sums it up by saying “You have to be one of the team. You may be the manager but you are the most important team player.”

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