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As a leader, building relationships with your employees proves valuable in fostering a healthy and effective work environment. These relationships center around trust and while important, do not inherently happen in a leader-employee dynamic. Instead, it’s crucial for leaders to earn these relationships through proper communication and commitment. Here are several keys leaders can use to build trust through communication.


Honesty is key to cultivating trust among leaders and employees. Leaders should remain transparent regarding pertinent employee information, which includes how the company is doing financially, employee progress reports, and position statuses. Refraining from telling the truth or disclosing accurate and pressing information can sabotage any employer-employee relationship, regardless of any benevolent intentions. It’s best to open a line of honest communication where both parties can feel confident they are receiving reliable information.  


It’s important for leaders to remain professional, but also cordial. Simple acts of kindness can prove crucial in cultivating relationships that hinge on mutual respect and trust. Kindness in the workplace can be expressed in various ways, from praising employee work or tenacity to asking employees for feedback or input in decision making. Employees are more likely to strive in environments where they feel safe and respected.


A large portion of trust is influenced by reliability. As a leader, it’s important to relay that your employees can rely on your words and actions. Promises made to employees, including development opportunities or otherwise, should be followed through. If promises can’t be delivered, it’s important leaders remain transparent and discuss with the employee why things didn’t pan out as they were originally anticipated. Broken promises should be a rare occurrence, though, as they negatively affect employees’ dedication and their ability to fully commit.


Clearly defining expectations helps to streamline the relationship. As employees will always be aware of what they are working toward, employers are less likely to become disappointed or frustrated with their employees for underperforming. Conflicting or undetermined expectations can cause tension between leaders and employees, but establishing expectations and continuing to reevaluate them can contribute to healthier relationships where every party knows how to achieve and contribute.


Sincerity proves another important key to fostering trust within the workplace. Whether it’s expressing genuine interest in employees’ professional growth and personal wellbeing, or offering a sincere apology, it’s important for leaders to be sincere in their interactions with their employees. This not only cultivates a healthy workplace environment, it also promotes meaningful relationships within the workplace that can result in more loyal and committed employees.

Implementing these keys of building trust can foster a more collaborative and dedicated work environment.