3 Solid Strategies to Build Trust at Work

Let’s talk about three solid strategies to build trust at work.

It starts with communication. The communication that takes place between you, your managers and your employees. One of the most difficult and costly issues in companies and organizations today, is the lack of clear communication.

Build trust at work

What is so dangerous about poor communication is that it costs your company an exorbitant amount of money. It is like a thief going into your bank account and stealing funds. This crime of poor communication is committed in broad daylight with eyewitnesses present and it is repeated over and over again.

It has been reported that miscommunication within a company can cost anywhere between 25-40% of its annual budget. No matter how you look at it, the cost of miscommunication within your operation is expensive, extremely expensive.

Think about the last major miscommunication in your organization. How much did it cost? Usually things like re-work, additional wages, upset customers, lost orders, not to mention raging tempers can add up to a hefty financial and emotional amount. It’s estimated that 14% of each workweek is wasted as a result of poor communication. As a president, business owner or manager, you want to reduce the amount of miscommunication as much as possible so you can build trust at work.

When it comes to your managers’ and employees’ ability to communicate with each other, on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest, where would your rate your team’s overall score?

Rate your communication levels now.

1          2          3          4          5          6          7          8          9          10

Poor                                     Average                             Good               Excellent

If you are somewhere between a 5 and a 6 you are average. Now don’t go thinking just because you are average that it’s OK and things will be fine. As a matter of fact it can be disastrous.

I remember a company I was working with had severe challenges when it came to honest and open communication between department heads. It seemed that most of the time in this organization, there were two types of communication going on. One type was nodding with polite agreement when the boss was doing the talking in meetings and one-on-one situations.

The other type was guarded and at times laced with a lot of finger pointing and anger. This type of exchange was destructive and contributed to mistrust and uncooperative efforts between departments. Ultimately in the end, customers were the ones that suffered and the company lost money.

So what can you do about reducing the amount of miscommunication in your business? Plenty. Here are three strategies to take that will build more trust at work.

First, each person needs to take responsibility for communicating effectively.

Each member of your team including yourself needs to stop pointing the finger at someone else for communication mistakes.

One way to approach this is to hold a meeting and to ask your team for suggestions on how you can communicate better to them.  Go around the table until everyone has had a chance to give you feedback on what they would like to see you change or do differently. Take notes and prioritize action items

The next strategy to build trust at work  that you can implement is to have the person to your right ask for the same feedback from their team members as well as yourself. Go around the table until everyone has had a chance to give that person some suggestions on what they would like to see that person change or do differently. Each person being given the feedback should also take notes and prioritize action items.

With one company I was working with, it became clear that the manager of one department was timid about walking into the owner’s office and communicating his needs and concerns.

Later in the individual coaching sessions with the owner and the manager, I learned that the owner was concerned about this, and even though he had requested the manager come to his office and check in from time to time, the manager didn’t.  Why was he reluctant? Because his behavioral style was introverted, and he lacked the confidence to do it effectively.

Finally, after working with both the manager and the business owner separately and together, it finally started to click. Eventually the manager realized the importance of meeting with the owner on a regular basis, but we needed to take him one step further. He had to overcome his procrastination about meeting with the owner. To do this I taught him a technique to help him overcome his fear of approaching and communicating with his boss.

Here is what he learned to do. When it came to performing in his position, I taught him to write down each concern that he had and some possible solutions he thought could resolve the issue. He then would schedule a time to meet with the owner and together they would decide what the best course of action would be to solve those specific concerns.

It worked extremely well. The manager had a plan that allowed him to put into action his recommendations with the benefit of the owner’s input, and the owner had a way of regularly communicating with his manager.

A third strategy you can try to build trust at work is what Ken Blanchard calls “management by walking around.” This is to go to the actual offices or work places where your people perform their duties.

Many small business leaders, have a bad habit of staying in their office until something goes wrong. (Watch the short video where I discuss how to get out of your office).

A better approach is to make it a practice to regularly visit with, and get to know, the people in your organization.

You will usually find that people will be more apt to communicate with you more honestly and openly. As a result, it became a better place to work for everyone, not too mention a much more profitable business. In essence, you will build trust at work.


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Tom Borg

My name is Tom Borg. I am a business expert who works with small and mid-size companies to effectively and profitably improve customer acquisition and retention. I help these businesses through his use of my consulting, speaking, training and coaching. To ask me a question or to hire me, please contact me at: (734) 404-5909 or email me at: tom@tomborg.com or visit my website at: www.tomborgconsulting.com

Tom Borg