How to Build Trust as a New Manager

How to Build Trust as a New Manager
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It Is Important to Build Trust as a New Manager
We know from people manager assessment data that new managers should not underestimate the importance of trust in building and leading a high performing team.  Trust is the foundation for all healthy relationships. An absence of trust limits a team’s ability to have constructive debate, gain full commitment, and hold each other accountable for both results and behaviors.

Based upon data from thousands of management training programs, we know that when a team trusts each other and their boss, high performance is possible.  When trust is absent or weak, people do not reach out for help, hesitate to challenge assumptions, fail to collaborate, resort to workplace politics, and begin to disengage at work.  Low levels of trust lead to low levels of performance.

Are You a Trustworthy New Manager
As a new manager, trust must be earned over time, and you must learn to take a situational approach to leadership.  To be “worthy” of your team’s trust, you need to have the competence and character to effectively plan, organize, lead, and manage your team.

  • Competence
    To be trusted as a new manager at work, first you must have the intellectual and emotional competence to lead your team. That means setting clear and meaningful objectives, being clear about roles, responsibilities, and interdependencies, holding people accountable, and having the business acumen to know what makes your business tick.

    Do your new managers have enough competence to be trusted?

  • Character
    When it comes to trust however, technical competence and business acumen are not enough.  New managers must also have the character in a values-driven manner.  Trustworthy managers lead by genuinely caring about their people, having open communication, uncovering their strengths, weaknesses, and aspirations, doing what they say they will do on a consistent basis, acting with integrity across challenging situations, and treating each team member fairly and with respect.

To Build Trust as a New Manager
To create a high trust environment, ask your team to assess your trustworthiness in terms of leading them to future success, demonstrating integrity, being honest and trustworthy, having open and honest communication, and caring about their professional development and career advancement.  Then rigorously work to fill any gaps with targeted new manager training.

Before you begin to assess your trustworthiness as a new manager, be absolutely committed to self-improvement.  If you are less than genuine in your desire to reflect, learn and build trust with your team members, they will see right through you.

To Re-Build Trust as a New Manager
If you learn that you have work to do in order to re-build previously damaged trust, here are five tips from new manager training program feedback on how to begin:

  1. Show Commitment
    Sincerely acknowledge that you fully intend to make the effort, whatever it takes, to re-build the trust that you have squandered.
  2. Acknowledge Responsibility
    Admit that you were responsible for the harm to the relationship. Being accountable is a crucial step in restoring others’ faith in you.
  3. Say You’re Sorry
    It’s not enough to own up to your part in damaging trust, you must also apologize for your role in the situation even if you were not the only one at fault.
  4. Ask for Feedback
    Now it’s time to find out how the other person feels by asking for their feedback at work. Do they agree with your assessment of the situation?  What do they need from you in order to start the process of re-building trust?

    Which basic element of trust did you violate?  From their point of view, did you fail at being competent, caring, honorable or authentic?

  5. Create a Plan
    Work together to devise a plan for correcting your behavior. Check in on a regular basis to assess progress and reinforce your commitment to improvement.

The Bottom Line
One of the most important steps as a new manager is to create an environment of trust so that people can play to their strengths, help each other to succeed, have constructive conflict, and hold each other accountable for high performance.  The example you set as a new leader matters to your peers, to your boss, and to your team.

To learn more about how to build trust as a new manager, download 29 Research-backed Ways to Build Trust


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