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.

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We recently partnered with LSA Global to offer our Supervisors and Managers a customized two-day management training program. Everyone who attended said it was by far the best management training program they had ever attended. The content was rich and highly interactive. The case studies were relevant. Each participant walked away from the training much better equipped to lead their teams.

Jeff Coon
Director of Human Resources

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

LSA has been a tremendous asset to my portfolio, both at my current company and my past company. As an HR leader, I am always looking for ways to find external resources that can provide a solution to our management training needs. LSA does that for me. Their solutions are presented in a much more leadership-oriented manner so as to be crisp, business relevant, and easy to apply right back on the job. I will continue to augment our programs using LSA solutions.

Ken Boehm
VP of Human Resources

Over the years, both at 3Com and now at Redback, I’ve found LSA Global to be a valuable resource. The recent compliance program that they delivered for Redback’s executive and management team was the right solution, of the highest of quality, and customized to our business and culture. I would highly recommend LSA to any company looking for top quality solutions.

Gina Fulton
Vice President of Human Resources

We have worked with LSA Global for our learning and development needs and have always had great success. They helped us recently with customized Management Workshops that we held for the second time. It was fantastic, and I would highly recommend LSA to anyone that is attempting to get immediate and impactful improvements.

Mary Johnston
HR Manager, BU Radiology Informatics

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.

Ken Boehm
Vice President of Human Resources

We have been able to utilize LSA’s extensive network of top-notch resources to leverage our investment in employee development. The result has been the cost effective and highly efficient delivery of quality educational and management training programs.

Steve Feller
Vice President, Human Resources

We recently contacted LSA Global to assist us with a unique training request. We gave LSA a very short deadline and LSA custom designed a training program to meet our exact requirements within the limited time allotted to them. We found their facilitator to be well versed in the subject matter and very credible; the design provided practical and valuable information to our team of managers. I highly recommend LSA Global, particularly in the area of management training.

Julaine K. Souza
Senior Vice President

I consistently look to LSA Global when I need custom programs put together for my client groups. I can always count on LSA to do a thorough needs analysis and to put together spectacular programs that are well received. Their management development and performance management expertise and professionalism make them one of my top-rated learning and development partners.

Stephanie Webb
HR Program Manager

Rambus

LSA’s approach and ability to bring the best resources to eBay has been a great asset. They really focus on helping us succeed in any way they can and are very flexible in meeting our management and talent needs.

Mike Normant
Learning & Development

ebay

Working with LSA Global has proven to be extremely valuable and worthwhile. LSA understands our business, has deep expertise in content areas, and tailors the programs to deliver great results. The facilitator was extremely knowledgeable about Working Globally with India and her energy and passion made the session interesting, fun, and enjoyable for all that attended. The participants walked away extremely pleased along with highly useful practices and tools. I would highly recommend LSA Global to any company that has partners or offices in India.

Glenn McGillivray
Human Resources Business Partner

Intuit

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

In my years working with LSA, it seems like I’ve had a personal consultant at my fingertips to help me identify just the right solution to satisfy our needs. The entire LSA team has become a trusted friend of Actel — assuring we provide state-of-the-art learning to meet our complex, high-tech business and people needs.

Linda Mitchell
Training Manager

LSA’s Employee Engagement Consulting and Survey work has provided critical visibility into: how well our people are holding up under the general economic environment, as well as, the specific challenges that face biotechnology companies in their efforts to discover and develop new medicines; their level of alignment and commitment to XOMA’s Vision and mission critical strategies; how leadership practices and management systems support an environment that engender commitment, and the specific actions that our leaders can take to improve on areas that are important to our people. I highly recommend LSA’s employee engagement solutions.

Chris Wells
Vice President, HR and IT

Here’s a token of my appreciation for ALL your efforts. I’m offering my most sincere appreciation, and it extends to all the folks who made our customized management development programs possible.

Susan Anderson
Workforce Planning Bureau

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