Management essentials: three ways for managers to build trust

If you want to succeed as a manager, you need to build relationships of trust with your team.

If they don’t trust you, nothing else matters: nothing you do will land right, the extra-mile won’t be run, the box won’t get thought outside of, no one will be saluting what you run up the flagpole … in short, creativity and motivation will drag sluggishly along the floor no matter how much cake you bring in on a Friday.

In fact, if our untrustworthy manager brought in cake on a Friday, what would you think?

You’d probably assume some sneaky ulterior motive, that they were trying to ingratiate themselves or bribe you with superficial treats … although obviously you’d still eat the cake, just to be polite.

If you’ve ever had a manager you didn’t trust, you won’t need much persuading on this point.

Saying you need trust in the team will seem like a statement of the blindingly obvious – and I’d agree with you, so imagine my surprise when someone once interrupted me to say:

We don’t have the luxury of building trusting relationships, we need people to get on with it and deliver

Someone on a management training course once (yes, seriously)

Hands up who wants to work for this person?

Thought not.

So, I am disappointed I need to do this, but I will start with three reasons why building trust is worthwhile, before going on to share three things you need to do to build trust in your teams.

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Improving my organisation skills by manipulating the space-time continuum

I have a habit of idling time away because I seem to be only able to do things when there isn’t enough time to do them in.

I hear that this is normal, and I like to think of it as being motivated by tight deadlines.

Someone once used the word procrastination when I was discussing this, but I ignored them.

It was on a Time Management course I did when I was a corporate-type and we used to just take whatever courses we fancied when The Manager passed around the thick course catalogue from some Professional Training Provider.

They said, and I think they were right actually, that “it’s not time management, it’s self management” (stress on the “self“) which is of course blindingly obvious after being told, because you cannot manage time – even Stephen Hawking couldn’t do that if you gave him a black hole and a pair of pliers.

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