How to Build Trust by Treating Employees Fairly, Not Necessarily Equally
Ask yourself, “would I want to work for me?” Now let’s be frank; to be effective as a manager, you need to know that your employees trust and respect you. They need to believe that you will handle their issues at the office fairly, consistently and maintain their information confidentially when they require your help. Continually, studies have shown that employee retention is directly linked to the quality of the relationship between a manager and his or her employee. Employees often look for another job when this connection doesn’t exist.
Several years ago I had a boss who believed that he should treat several of his direct reports precisely the same in respects to salary. He believed that he was being “fair” by treating all of us the same, even though we all had different areas of responsibility, performance levels and work styles. Treating us all the same didn’t work, because we were all in fact very different. He managed us like a parent treated his kids. He didn’t want to show favoritism to anyone in particular. Good parenting practice; not so good management style.
What kind of a manager are you? Do your employees have faith in your ability as a manager? Can they depend on you for your backing and fair treatment? Do you differentiate their individual strengths and contributions?
Think for a moment and consider what you need from your manager in order to succeed in your job? Make a list of your top 10 prerequisites. Chances are your list will be very similar to the ones your employees will fashion for you. Use it as a self-evaluation of your managerial effectiveness to establish how you can develop as a manager before the economy begins to recover in earnest.
How can you become a more effective manager? By being concerned enough to:
- Build a professional yet attentive relationship with each of your direct reports
- Ask them frequently how their job is going and how you can help; be available when they need you
- Pledge to hold weekly staff meetings with everyone reporting on what they’re working on in a round table setting; do not postpone or cancel scheduled meetings
- Honor your commitments to employees and follow through
- Having their back is crucial; provide support, obtain salary increases, supplemental training, etc.
- Keep an door open; don’t sit in your office with your door closed unless in meetings
- Find out what interests them as individuals and use that creatively when recognizing each employee for exceptional performance
- Hold your employees accountable for work you expect them to do and the deadlines to be met
- Ask them how they want to be treated or what resolution they anticipate from a conflict at work
- Hire smart; manage performance problems as they occur
- Communicate, Listen and Inspire!