3 Ways Leaders Build Trust to Increase Employee Engagement

a word map centered around collaboration

Without a foundation of trust and mutual respect, teams avoid healthy conflict, have less accountability, and tend to underperform.

Together, this pushes employees toward disengagement.

A lack of trust undermines a team’s performance…rather than work collaboratively, team members set up silos and work on their own, often at cross purposes and certainly less efficiently. They don’t share information, they may get into disputes over roles and responsibilities, and they don’t cooperate. Any potential synergies or economies of scale are lost.

No matter how talented individual team members may be, a team without foundational trust will never reach its full potential. Rather than working together to achieve team goals, individuals are likely to work on protecting themselves and their own interests. Instead you want a trusting environment where employees feel safe to communicate openly, feel comfortable with one another and take reasonable risks in order to learn, grow and perform.

Some years ago our team at LSA embarked on an Outward Bound California outdoor experiential team building program. What started as a fun way to hang out together, quickly turned into salient lessons about trust, problem solving, communication, decision making and leadership. To succeed at our challenges, members had to really trust one another to walk through the obstacles safely and to cooperate in understanding and meeting the goals of the exercises. Though overall we did well, our debrief of the program exposed some weaknesses in our team dynamic. Some members realized they did not fully trust others. They learned that their micro-managing was a sign of doubt that teammates had the skills and the will to do the job “right.” Back at the workplace, we resolved to work on these issues. It was apparent in a very short time how much more efficiently we were able to get things done when trust was increased “just a little bit.” Productivity improved as did engagement. We all were striving together toward a common goal with higher levels of mutual trust as our foundation.

Can you fix a team that is suffering from a lack of trust? Yes, if the team leader is truly committed to improving the team environment. Here is how to begin based upon three employee engagement training best practices:

  1. Set the example
    Clearly define and agree upon goals, roles, responsibilities, processes and success metrics. Ensure full understanding of and commitment to expectations and then let the team work to fulfill them without your hovering. Show your trust in their abilities by allowing them to make small mistakes so they learn and grow from them. The best leaders choose the right players and then trust them to do their job well while “having their back.”
  2. Show you care
    Get to know your team as individuals. Learn what makes them tick and what excites them about life and the job. What do they like to do when they are not at work? Be authentically curious and listen well. Your genuine interest in both their personal and professional lives will help connect you and build links of trust while you help them to achieve their personal and professional aspirations.
  3. Show your competence
    This does not mean that you show your power. Instead it is more about being humble. Don’t pretend to have all the answers. Ask for help from your teammates when you need it. Always treat them fairly and with honesty. Share as much information about the business’ plan for the future. This is the way to show that you value their contribution and that you trust them to act in the best interests of the team and the organization.

Benchmark your employee engagement practices now

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I continue to be impressed by the level of leadership development and management expertise and quality of advice and facilitation that LSA has to offer. What a smart and client-centric group of great people who really know how to help leaders attract, engage, develop and retain top talent.

Tracy Esposito
Director, HR Business Partner

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What a personal and professional pleasure it has been to Partner with LSA. They are truly a strategic partner with Wyse. For more than 5 years, LSA has been engaged in delivering various training and development solutions for Wyse, from custom on-site programs targeting specific core competencies, to working individually with clients to build job skills, and offering invaluable services to me and my team as we continue to build our learning programs. LSA’s representatives do more than sell a product, they offer a full service solution: they understand our business, our strategic initiatives, and the needs of our customers.

Jeff Rangel
Director of HR

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I had been working with LSA for many years with my prior company. Currently, I’m with a company who hadn’t done much basic management skills training. After identifying and presenting a program recently, our managers are excited and talking in the halls about the great experience. LSA saves us time in delivering the right training for our needs.

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HR Director

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Understanding and conforming to legal compliance was very important to our company. We turned to LSA Global to provide a quality and cost effective way to ensure that we were AB 1825 compliant. Their interactive eLearning program was top-notch. It allowed our managers to learn at their own pace, and on their own time. The program was tailored to include our logo and our internal harassment policies. It was interactive and met all federal and state legal requirements. I would highly recommend LSA Global to any company looking for an efficient and effective and top quality way to train their managers to be in compliance.

Kelly Warren, SPHR
Director, HR & Compliance

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Our relationship with LSA has been fantastic. We actually brag about their business value all the time. Their flexibility, focus, and ability to continuously deliver true results has been extremely refreshing and different than any other training outsourcing firm we have engaged.

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Avon’s success is dependent on strong relationships among our Customers, Representatives, Associates, and outside resources we hire to help us meet our business objectives. We were very pleased with the results from working with LSA Global to design and facilitate a custom program for our events management team. LSA demonstrated responsiveness, flexibility, and an innovative approach to working with us.

Deanna Rudnitsky
Senior Manager, HR Destiny Sales Region

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LSA helped to meet the needs of my teams within a very narrow timeframe. My team walked away with highly useful management tools and practices. LSA saved us time in delivering the right solution for our specific needs.

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Thank you to LSA Global for their partnership and support in helping us to design and roll-out our valuable management development training program. I personally have partnered with LSA Global at four of my previous companies. It continues to be a delight working with LSA. We look forward to partnering with them at Blackhawk Networks for future training and consulting needs.

Suzanne Kinner
VP Human Resources

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LSA provided top notch solutions right when and how we needed them. They exceeded my expectations from a speed, quality, and cost standpoint. I recommend them to anyone looking for a true business partner in the Learning and Development arena. The breadth and depth of their expertise has helped us hit tight deadlines across multiple projects.

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LSA helped change our entire culture around meetings, making them more effective and efficient, thus enabling us to concentrate on driving more business.

Terry Wassman
VP of Human Resources

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LSA’s consultant designed and delivered a half-day team building solution for our recent conference. It included careful customization to integrate the design with our new mission and values. Everyone had fun and identified key issues with our teamwork. Altogether a great program!

Bob Ward
Director of HR

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The Next Generation Management Development courses have helped me communicate more effectively with my peers and teammates. By utilizing effective communication techniques such as clarifying and confirming, and asking open ended questions, I have been able to clarify and understand information in situations where I would have otherwise asked limited questions and made false assumptions.

Robert Breckner
Firmware Engineering Manager

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We partnered with LSA to pilot a customized behavioral interviewing program to help ensure that we continue to hire the best and brightest as we continue to rapidly scale. LSA’s ability to understand our business and our unique culture combined with their desire to ensure that the best practices framework truly fits our performance environment and is highly adopted by our people is a real blessing. Most other firms want to just ‘give you training.’ Not LSA, they are focused on helping me hit our hiring forecasts and attract A players.

Jennifer Remling
Director of Global Recruiting

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In the Next Generation Management Development courses, I was trained with skills and tools that have made me and my team more productive, motivated, and successful at communicating with other departments.

 

Kevin Ashman
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PalmSource has found our relationship with LSA extremely beneficial. We worked closely with LSA to customize the right Management Training Program solution to meet our unique business needs. LSA is a quality organization, one that I’d recommend to any company looking for a first class training and consulting partner.

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