According to an American Psychological Association study from April, there’s a 50% chance that your employees don’t consider you “open and upfront” with them.
To build trust with your employees, says author and communications consultant John Stoker in his book “Overcoming Fake Talk,” you need to stop putting a glossy sheen over everything with your employees.
If they’re failing you in some way, don’t let it go. If their contribution to a meeting doesn’t work for some reason, explain why rather than dismissing or pretending to consider it.
Stoker shared with us four things to be mindful of when communicating with your team.
Remember that you hired your employees for a reason — they have something to offer. Don’t go into a meeting with the intention of convincing your team to accept all of your ideas. Instead, be open to their input and be flexible.
“By recognising and suspending thinking or judgments, professionals become able to set aside their agendas in order to hear and consider other points of view,” Stoker says.
Keep things in the framework of “we,” not “I.”
Keeping things in the first person can create resentment among your team. Even if you believe the initiatives you bring to a meeting will be beneficial to each of your employees, presenting them in a way that sound as if they are only furthering your own agenda can be alienating.
Similarly, if you give an employee negative feedback in a performance review and frame everything within a first-person perspective, your employee will naturally feel attacked and may even start to aggressively defend themselves.
You should not communicate to your employees that your management of them is solely to push forward your own agenda. Behave like their coach, communicating that everything is won and lost together.
“Asking thoughtful questions with the goal of understanding and exploring others’ points of view increases awareness, creates respect, and improves engagement,” Stoker says.
Get to know your employees’ personalities to learn how they approach their work, and let them know when they have done a great job accomplishing something.
Pay attention to body language.
If you’ve built a habit of not being upfront with your employees, then they have likely learned to hold back as well. In your attempt to create an ongoing honest dialogue with them, pay attention to their body language. If they tell you that a project is going well or that they’re happy with what you’ve assigned them but their delivery seems fake, then ask questions that determine how something can be going more smoothly.