If you’ve been a business owner for any length of time, you probably understand the harm a lack of trust and loyalty can have on the success of your operation and overall happiness. Conversely, you no doubt recognize the tremendous benefits trusting and loyal team members bring to you and your customers.
Trust and loyalty go hand in hand. Anytime trust between you and a team member is broken, any loyalty that existed is damaged. Once damaged, it can be a lengthy process to rebuild it, if not impossible. As the leader of your company, team member trust and loyalty begins with you. The wisest choice is to build trust and loyalty from the outset and continually work to strengthen that over time.
Anytime team members are mistreated, their trust in and loyalty to business owners and businesses are weakened Some examples of mistreatment include speaking in a derogatory or condescending manner, demeaning or humiliating a team member, blaming them for something they didn’t do and failing to recognize solid effort and appreciate quality work. If these actions go on repeatedly, trust and loyalty will be destroyed.
To clarify this point, reflect on times when you were mistreated and remember how you felt, how it damaged the trust and loyalty you once had and how it altered your perspective of that person and the company he or she represented.
Taking advantage of your people is another way to damage and even destroy the professional relationships you share. Repeatedly asking or demanding that a team member put in more and more time, perform additional tasks and go above and beyond without meaningful recognition, verbal appreciation or even financial rewards create mistrust and disloyalty. People don’t respond well to being used.
Lying to team members and breaking your promises constitute yet other ways to lose their loyalty. Obviously, lying to someone doesn’t foster trust. Doing so demonstrates you can’t be trusted. If you make promises you don’t intend to keep or string someone along to get more out of them and never deliver on your word, they’ll create a mindset against you and your company.
When you treat people with dignity and respect — as the human beings they are and not merely cogs in the wheel of your business — trust and loyalty are nurtured. Your team members want to be treated fairly just as you do. When they are, they will give this same respect back to you.
Creating a friendly and supportive work environment strengthens trust and loyalty. When people go to a safe and supported work environment, they become appreciative. They want to be there, give more of themselves and work to preserve that which they enjoy. When you value them, your team members will value you and your business to a greater degree.
Providing your team members with opportunities to learn new skills, take on more vital tasks and advance within your business instills trust and loyalty. It demonstrates you believe in them, recognize and appreciate their time and effort and, perhaps most importantly, confirms you care.
Impeccability of your word — saying what you mean and meaning what you say — goes a long way in building trust and loyalty. Never lie to your team members. When you make a promise, do everything in your power to keep it. If you can’t, make sure to let your team members know why so they’ll understand and see that you did your best.
Trust and loyalty goes both ways. Sometimes you can be the most integrity based, supportive, fair and opportunity giving business owner, and team members will still take actions that damage or destroy your trust and loyalty in them. This is rarely the case, though, when you hire effectively and foster these things in team members first. Letting those team members go who don’t lend themselves to trust and loyalty is always a wise decision.
When you lead from a place that fosters trust and loyalty in your people, your top talent will return the favor, usually at an even higher level. In the end, there’s a great benefit to you and your customers when you build trust and loyalty in your team members.