Trust Your People

Placing trust in your people, the folks you chose over other candidates, is important. We understand this concept and also struggle to do so. Why? As a small business owner, I trust my team. I have to. I vetted them, selected them over other qualified individuals and don’t waste time mulling over minutiae and mind-numbing details. Then, I let them do their work. Work that they are often better qualified to do then I am. Trusting your employees is near the top of concerns that workers share with me.

The bonus of my job is the many perspectives I get from organizations and businesses across North America and beyond. I learn much, take notes and share at conferences, in meetings with leadership and to individuals.

I understand some of you feel that trust has to be earned and I am not disputing that. But who has time to micro-manage staff? It’s challenging to do your work AND manage staff. It’s near impossible to do so well and have a chip on your shoulder or a voice inside your head telling you that staff cannot be trusted. Of course, there is the occasional one-off. That person who has “questionable” judgement or crosses the line between truth and fairness.

It is a pity. Issues of employee trust runs deep as does employee disengagement with leadership because of this tendency.

Start with Trust, then Grow Productivity

If you want to grow productivity, which often leads to business growth, then trust is a great place to begin. I’ve listened in hushed tones in hallways to individuals and small groups sharing with me their concerns. Q&A with hundreds yields the same sentiment where people say that their manager, boss, leadership does not trust me to get the job done. They micro-manage, they talk about me to others, and it gets back to me. I’m upset. They say, “Why the hell was I hired in the first place?”

It’s a conundrum many of us face. We interview, pass many levels of approval, receive an offer, and are not trusted. All that work, vetting and beating out other candidates for what? It’s debilitating, humiliating and slows workplace productivity. Treating staff like kids does not work. Trusting them, does.

Allowing employees to work from home shows that you trust them

Working from Home

Working from home in 2018 gave leaders visions of employees playing, shopping, hanging at the pool and having long lunches. Today, we understand that having time to walk your dog, hug your kids, get started on dinner and run an errand does not interrupt productivity. Stats show that this enhances it. Trust!

It’s okay if you don’t know.

It’s okay if you don’t know. Just say so as being wrong happens to all of us. Just admit so and move on. If you say you’re going to do something, do it. From new employee to senior leaders, trust is given and earned. Additional ways to grow trust including listening with intent, asking for input and remembering that trust is great for morale, motivation and productivity growth.

Praise your employees to build trust


Coworkers need praise too. It takes 10 seconds to let someone know that they did a good job. Being recognized makes us feel good and can often add a lift to someone’s day. Add to this the sharing of information, ideas and knowledge and you build trust and support that your competition may not have. That’s a distinct business advantage!

We hire people after performing serious vetting. We spend time and money doing so. Trusting those who “make the cut” is the least we can do. Showing them that we trust them, investing in their development, acknowledging their work, and avoiding micro-managing shows staff that you care for them. Higher retention and productivity often follow. Everyone wins!