I seem to get this call a lot. It’s a business owner in desperation, seeking immediate help with employees. The question is inevitably a variation of how do I get them to do X.
Here’s the dealio. You can’t inspire any employee to do anything for you, without one key element: Trust. Surely you could put a gun to someone’s head or threaten their welfare and people will respond. But it won’t bring out the best in people. And it ain’t sustainable.
The basis for a cohesive, focused, high performing employee is trust.
So how do you get them to trust you? You must trust them first.
Doesn’t make sense does it? I mean, you are the boss after all. Don’t they need to earn your trust? No, they don’t. Maybe in your fantasy world, but in the real world the only way you can gain trust is by giving it first.
Start trusting your employees immediately. For example: Let them make key decisions that you never let them make before. Let them handle the big opportunities that you historically would only navigate yourself. Let them see your vulnerabilities, instead of the fake facade of “everything is great.”
Building trust is about giving trust first. It does not happen over night. It takes time, sometimes lots of time. But the sooner you start, the sooner you will deserve the trust of your employees… because you gave it to them.