When You’ve Lost Trust in an Employee…

Leaders who don’t trust their employees are often more anxious, hesitant to delegate, and prone to micromanaging. A lack of trust can also diminish innovation, morale, and team performance. Here are five steps to take if you’re in the uncomfortable position of not trusting one of your employees. First, separate facts from assumptions and focus on specific problematic behaviors. What exactly did this person do or not do that has led to your distrust? Next, make a list of the areas in which you do trust your employee, and consider how you might incrementally build on these areas in low-risk ways.

Focus on clear and frequent communication—checking in regularly one-on-one—as you delegate and add to their responsibilities. It’s crucial to provide feedback on the behaviors that are leading to your distrust. Be specific; is it their competency, consistency, or character that’s degrading your trust? Ask for their feedback too, and honestly reflect on what you might be doing (or not doing) to contribute to the situation. And finally, ask yourself if the breach of trust is repairable. If it isn’t, it might be time to part ways.

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