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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LSA custom designed a Management Development program that is absolutely “on target” for our technical managers. Their facilitator has done a superb job delivering the material in a way that is fast paced, highly interactive, and fun. She presents practical solutions to the people situations that our managers face every day. I regard LSA as an excellent partner that understands our business needs and a virtual member of our HR department.

Judith Onton
Vice President Human Resources

I have worked with other training companies and found it to be more of a seller/buyer relationship than one of matching the right expertise to our business issues. That’s what LSA does – ask the hard questions, listen, and understand our business needs. We receive the benefit of their expertise from assistance with personal development plans to enhancing team performance, to looking at enterprise-wide challenges. It’s all about helping our business succeed as we grow. Right now, LSA is providing great ideas, a fresh approach, and valuable guidance as we develop our management team and accelerate our client relationship management results.

Kristin Westland-Kaune
Director, Team Development

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
Firmware Engineering Supervisor

We contacted LSA to help us with customized management development. LSA worked with me to identify a solution that would meet our exact needs. We decided to start at the top and ran the program for our executive team. It was such a great success that we hope to roll it out companywide. We look forward to a long-term partnership with LSA Global and their team of experts.

Barry L. Byrd, SPHR
Human Resources Manager

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

The Managing Virtual Teams program was extremely valuable. Your consultant/ facilitator’s fundamental knowledge of Synopsys as a company provided an incredible base to build upon while tackling the complications of managing and working with globally distributed teams. My team walked away walked away with highly useful practices and tools. It was an excellent use of our time.

Debra Martucci
Vice President, Information Technology

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

Congratulations on your pro-activity in establishing this program and developing such an effective New Employee Orientation course.

Farhat Ali
President and Chief Executive Office

Fujitsu

What a refreshing change from the half-baked psycho-babble you normally get from training and consulting organizations. LSA gives you the practical and results-oriented assistance you need to define and reach your goal.  They provide a results driven plan – not just a temporary fix. They are great to work with, and even more importantly, they “get it!”

David Fiano
Vice President Human Resources

For our go to training outsourcing partner, LSA provides exactly what we want. As always, they deliver outstanding work!

Elizabeth Siebert
Director, Organizational Excellence & Development

Intuit

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

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

I’ve partnered with LSA Global at two companies now, and I consider them a valuable and trusted training and consulting resource. They recommended just the right solution to address our management development needs and have wonderful facilitators that match YuMe’s culture and style of our management team. I would highly recommend LSA Global to any company wanting to deliver quality learning solutions with a valuable learning and development partner.

Maya Paul
HR Director

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

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

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