The sudden and forced shift into remote work as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has unsurprisingly caused a multitude of challenges. Employees are now at home, predictably in distracting environments (dogs, kids, etc.). However, that does not mean that they shouldn’t be trusted to get the work done. Establishing trust with your team members is mutually beneficial—you don’t feel the pressure and the added task of micromanaging, and your team members are confident in their work knowing that their manager trusts them. However, trust has to be built between an employee and manager. Below we break down five ways to instill trust and autonomy with your team members.
Keep communication open.
Although it seems like a no-brainer, there is no doubt that consistent and open communication is one of the best ways to create a sense of trust and autonomy between a manager and an employee. Keep your employees in the loop about everything and anything that may concern them-—the good, the bad, and the ugly—be transparent. The less they feel like an outsider, the more likely they are to trust you which goes a long way in creating a positive and productive work environment. Make sure your employees know that you are open, approachable, and available at any time.
Share Your Mistakes.
Chances are, your best (or newest) employees constantly fear one thing: making a mistake. Share experiences of your mistakes and how you learned from them. Take the blame when something goes wrong on your part or there was miscommunication. Let your employees know that you are not superhuman yourself, and they will feel more comfortable and relaxed in the work environment—and more willing to take risks and potentially make mistakes, and better yet—get some big wins.
Remember in grade school the pride you felt when your teacher called you out in front of the class for doing something well? The confidence it created that lasted throughout the day? The motivation it gave you to continue to do well in school? Create that environment in the workplace too. A little bit of kindness and recognition goes a long way. Motivate your employees by letting them know that the work they are doing is valued, and in turn they will have confidence in themselves.
Lead by Example.
This ties into the point of sharing your mistakes. Continuously show your employees that you trust them by leading by example. If you want to create a workplace environment where it’s no big deal to be late because of car troubles, or a team member has to leave early because their child is sick, you have to show that it’s no big deal yourself. Be honest with your employees by letting them know why you why you are late, or absent, or leaving early. Remind them that it’s ok, life happens. This will in turn lead to a more open, honest, and trusting work environment.
Lastly: Let it Go.
Keep in mind that you didn’t hire the type of people who need to have their hand held. You have enough on your plate, don’t add to it by feeling the need to micromanage your employees. Make it clear that you are there to help, but leave it to them to manage the nitty gritty of their work. They will be grateful that you trust them enough to take ownership of their own work, and you will be grateful that you didn’t add the added task of hovering over them.
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