• Amii Barnard-Bahn

Communication for Trust

Updated: Mar 19

Great teamwork requires trust. 

We trust people when we believe two things: 1) they care about us, and 2) they are open to our influence.

Leaders build trust by having great two-way communication and ongoing dialogue. Yet, one of the biggest complaints I hear from my coaching clients is the lack of access to their boss. For this reason, I highly recommend monthly team meetings and bi-weekly one-on-ones with direct reports. There is no better way to emphasize priorities, exchange information, stay personally connected, and reduce the myriad unscheduled interruptions that occur if your staff does not know when they can have a few minutes of your time. 

Establishing regular meetings is critical when you are a new manager or add a new hire to your team (though it’s never too late to start!). At one of your early 1:1’s, a fundamental leadership practice is to make sure you know how each of your employees wants to receive feedback. This helps to create a firm foundation for your relationship and reduces anxiety around future performance discussions. 

Here are some key questions to ask team members in an initial meeting (you may want to email these in advance so they have a chance to think about them): What’s important to know about how you like to receive feedback? Do you prefer a softer, less direct approach, a more direct approach, or something in between?What doesn’t work well for you in receiving feedback? What would you like to receive feedback on (e.g. there may be a skill they trying to build)? Prepare for each of these meetings in advance by considering the following: What information do I want my employee to know? How do I want them to feel? What do I believe is most important to them? How can I support their professional growth? What might surprise them, and how will I prepare them for this?

Remember to listen more than you talk. We have two ears and one mouth for a reason! 

What other actions do you take as a leader to build trust? Let me know and I’ll include them in one of my next newsletters.

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