What the Employee Can Do to Build Reciprocal Trust and Confidence

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What could a lowly employee possibly do that would cause a senior leader

to inspire more trust and confidence? At first, we might respond ‘‘not

much.’’ But, while employees may not have much control, all employees

have some degree of influence.

Here are some actions they can take to exercise the influence they do

have:

Respond honestly on employee surveys—point out how the actions

of senior leaders do not match their words and professed values. Describe

specific instances of management behavior that have created

distrust or caused you to lose confidence.

Speak up in meetings and express your convictions firmly.

If you are asked to take part in something unethical or dishonest,

refuse to go along, report it to a superior, or be prepared to resign.

Be willing to take the risk of counseling your manager against taking

an action that is unethical and will damage the company’s reputation.

When a leader or manager puts trust and confidence in you by giving

you the freedom to do the job without constant oversight, be prepared

to take the initiative.

Show that you are interested in having an ‘‘ownership mentality.’’

Learn how the business makes money and what you can do to make

it more profitable and perhaps share more in that profitability.

Earn your manager’s trust by constantly looking for ways to take the

initiative to meet customers’ needs or by improving your own skills

so that managers will trust you to handle new challenges.

Give new leaders the benefit of the doubt. Give them time to communicate

and begin to execute their new vision before judging it to

be unworthy of following.

If you feel called to become a leader yourself, resolve to do everything

in your power to gain and keep the trust and confidence of

your employees.