When you’re building a business, you can’t do it without an exceptional team, and great teams are built on trust. Here’s how to let go so that people can excel at their jobs.
Trust is a difficult thing to manufacture out of thin air. Of course it has to be earned but it also has to be implied at the very start. This is how I like to begin building trust. I give it, implicitly. I trust my team to do their best, to do their job, to arrive on time and really show up. I trust them until there is a reason not to trust them.
1. Just let go already
The one thing that I’ve found affects how much my team trusts me, the company and each other is when I force myself into each and every part of my business. If you believe that you have brought together a top class team then you have to let them do their jobs. I’ve been quite bad at that recently.
This step is very dependent on your hiring process being extremely solid and your personal ability to let go.
Related: Multiply your manufacturing success with teamwork
If you’re micromanaging each team member and every part of their jobs then you’re in for trouble. You don’t earn someone’s trust by watching their every move and then criticising it. I learnt this one the hard way.
I’ve spent the last few months with my dirty little mitts in every part of the Nic Harry pie and all I did was upset my team. One person can only do so many things before everything starts to suffer. While I was forcing myself into my team’s work, my own performance dropped and everyone suffered.
Let go and let your team perform. Trust them to do their best until they don’t. When they don’t, then you can approach them. Until then, back off.
2. Brutal honesty
A key part of trust is honesty. This sounds like a cliché and it is, for a reason. If no one is being honest then there is inherently no trust. You cannot lie your way to an honest and trusting relationship or team dynamic.
At Nic Harry, honesty is one of our core business practices. Without it we don’t believe it’s possible to build real trust or a team that wants to work with and for each other.
There are jobs that are just about the work. There are jobs that people do just for the paycheque. You can trust your team to work as long as they are getting paid and having an okay day. I believe that if you create a passion in your business that infects your team then they are going to want to do better and better every day. If the passion is authentic and the business stands for something more than just a sale then the odds are in your favour that your team is going to do their best.
I believe there is a clear link between trust and passion. The more passion you instill in your business and team, the more dedicated they are going to be to you, your cause and their work. Once they are dedicated, building trust comes naturally. Then it’s a cycle of trusting them to do the best they can do, they do their best and then you trust them to do that again and again.
Unfortunately you can’t really create a business without processes. These processes allow for accurate measurement of tasks and goals. It’s these processes that also allow you to set small tests for your team.
If you can trust your team to arrive on time every day then the chances are you can trust them to close or leave on time too. If they are opening and closing on time then I generally feel that they are doing the basics right too; sweeping, dusting and keeping our incredible product in tip top shape.
If one member of my team is consistently late I start to wonder if there are bigger issues at play. This allows me to quickly pick up the problem and talk to them about it.
Related: 8 Free resources for setting up business processes and systems
Get everyone on the same page working towards the same goal
Setting up clear and precise processes gets everyone on the same page and working towards the same goals. If you aren’t verbalising these processes or the goals you’re working towards then you aren’t measuring your team fairly.
Recently I was told off by one of my team for undermining my own processes. They arrived early and I thought they had arrived late. The process is to notify our store leads if you are late and they didn’t (because they were early). I was told, in no uncertain terms, to back off and let the processes work.
That was a good day for me. I trust my team to be the A-players that they are; they trust me to back off and let them do their jobs. We get along because we’re honest and the goals are clearly defined.
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