How can you create trust between employees

Hiding is no longer possible: platforms such as kununu.de now show everyone what it looks like behind the polished facades of companies. Many fail there, especially because of the behavior of their superiors. Out of 13 categories that are rated on the portal, the category of managerial behavior is among the worst three.

But what makes good managerial behavior? “Employees demand a high degree of flexibility,” explains Johannes Prüller from kununu. But for this to be granted to them, the boss first has to trust them.

Eva Schulte-Austum knows about trust. She advises companies on employee retention and explains how to become a trustworthy employer. This cultivates the image: because employees who trust their employer are twice as likely to recommend them to others compared to colleagues who mistrust their employer. This is a result of the Trust Barometer from the Edelmann communications agency.

Employees need freedom

Schulte-Austum starts many of its seminars on the topic of control. Managers often find it difficult to give their employees more freedom, she explains from her wealth of experience. This is not without consequences: the more the employees have to coordinate with their superiors, the less they can shape it themselves. Many then clearly lose motivation and quickly show just as much distrust in their employer as he does in them. “It's not for nothing that companies get the employees they deserve,” she says.

Management behavior in German companies improved in 2018. The Kununu Management Report 2018 shows in which industries and federal states the flagship bosses work.

An example: an employee is supposed to win new customers, but has to coordinate with two superiors before making contact. “That slows down and demotivates the employee,” says the trust expert.

Many companies also exercise control in a much more obvious way. They record break and working times, and request a sick leave from the first day that an employee does not come to work. In Denmark, according to Schulte-Austum, employers simply believe their employees that they are sick. "Trust that is given works better than any control system because it starts with our honor," she says.

So if you reduce control, you ensure that employees are still looking for solutions in the shower because they enjoy working in their company. Because those who trust their employees also get trust back.

Culture is not a glossy brochure

Another important starting point is honesty. Schulte-Austum tells of a presentation of the corporate philosophy of an advertising agency. An excellently produced image film ran. But nothing was great in the auditorium: none of the employees felt addressed. They worked weekend shifts and the film advertised home offices and free time. "A corporate mission statement must be realistic and, above all, one thing: honest," explains Schulte-Austum. Employees should be actively involved in this. On the other hand, anyone who works out the new values ​​behind closed doors and then sends them around by e-mail will only encounter incomprehension and thus, in turn, distrust.

Schulte-Austum's most important advice after ten years in the selection and development of executives: People should become executives who also have good relationships. In order to find this, companies should use standardized tests and detailed interviews in the application process, she recommends.

Many companies have managers who are highly qualified, but who can still learn a lot in terms of social interaction. Few of them will now replace their entire management team. But trust management can be learned, Schulte-Austum is convinced. Many people simply lack the knowledge of how to have good relationships. These nine little tricks can significantly increase employees' trust in managers:

How bosses gain the trust of their employees

Schulte-Austum also knows how bosses can push the relationship with their employees against the wall with impetus: with incorrectly expressed criticism.

Of course, things don't always run smoothly in day-to-day work, employees make mistakes and receive criticism for them. So far, so normal. But if you pack your message with disdain, you quickly lose trust. "A good manager criticizes a work result or a specific behavior, but never the person himself," explains Schulte-Austum.

A new survey shows what has long been suspected: Executives pay too little attention to their employees. Listening helps to avoid costly mistakes, prevent misunderstandings and retain customers.

If the boss keeps talking about how badly this or that problem was solved, that doesn't help either. Instead, managers should consciously look ahead and ask themselves and their employees the following questions:

- What can we do differently?
- What information would the employee have needed to better achieve the goal?

This positive view in a common direction creates the basis for a trusting cooperation.

Schulte-Austum does not condemn the typical saying “trust is good, control is better”. It always depends on the right amount. Anyone who looks over the shoulder of a job entrant in the first few weeks can help. But for most other situations, control is fine, but trust is better.

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