What reason do your employees have to trust you? You’ve already got three strikes against you: you’re in a business management position, you make more money, and you’re often forced to make difficult decisions — meaning you’re ultimately responsible for their employment. You may have all the qualities of a good leader, but you’re still in a position to cut off their income at any time: why should they trust you? Building trust, however, is crucial to any relationship — especially with those you’ve trusted with your business. Build Cyclical Relations, Not Linear Ones There’s a reason why Commonfig was founded on the premise of circular, cyclical relationships: they’re a much stronger bond than a linear, give-take relationship. Unfortunately, these one-note, shallow linear connections are the ones we usually find in an employee relationship: I need money, so I will work for you; I need a task performed, so I will pay you. By contrast, cyclical relationships are forged on common wants and needs. They’re naturally rewarding because they allow for effective communication and further growth for both parties. In short: cyclical relationships focus on thriving, not surviving. Consider the circular premise behind Commonfig’s service seekers and professionals: Both service seekers and service professionals can meet a need in a mutually beneficial environment. There is no give-and-take; instead, there is give-and-prosper. Open, Effective Communication is the Key It doesn’t matter how many qualities of a good leader you possess: you’ll never have trust without open and honest communication with your employees. Your employees may not always like what they’re hearing, but they’ll respect you for telling the truth — and they’ll grow to trust that you’re not hiding things from them. Remember, communication should also be cyclical. Ask your employees for their opinions and input. Action speaks louder in business management: don’t forget to act on and implement their suggestions, too. You Must Give Trust to Receive Trust Why should employees trust you if you don’t trust them? Don’t micromanage. Don’t be afraid to dole out responsibilities. Look out for budding leadership skills in others. Trust their instincts. Remember: you hired them for a reason. Keep Your Word Your employees have got to trust that you stand behind what you say. When you say you’re going to act, you’ve got to follow through — in both the negative and the positive. Remember Common Courtesies: They May Be Below You on the Pay Scale, But They’re Not Below You as Humans Say it now and say it often: your employees are not your inferiors. You may be in a position of authority, but your employees are not below you. Don’t yell. Don’t be snide, don’t be sarcastic. Remember your basic manners, like “please” and “thank you” — those simple common courtesies you take for granted go a long way in maintaining an employee relationship. Leadership is Not a One-Way Street The key to developing fantastic leadership skills is by leading through reciprocation. Show your employees someone you would trust, and they’ll trust you in turn. Forgive the zen-like mantra, but it’s really as simple as this: Reward, and be rewarded. Respect, and be respected. Trust, and be trusted.
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