Want to Earn Employee Trust? Brush Up on Your Communication Skills

management styles Communication skills have been identified as the most important when it comes to earning employee trust in a new survey from Lee Hecht Harrison.

The survey, found that more than half of workers place communication skills at the highest value when it comes to the qualities leaders need when building trust among employees.

In an online poll, 835 US workers responded to the question, "What is the most important leadership quality for building a trusting relationship with your manager?" Communication was listed as the most important for 52% of respondents, 31% said respect, 11% said competence and 6% replied with empathy.

“As a leader, building trust in the workplace isn’t just about the level of competence you bring to your role, it’s also about your ability to influence, persuade, inspire and motivate,” Kristen Leverone, Senior Vice President for Lee Hecht Harrison’s Global Talent Development Practice, said in a statement. “This ability comes from conveying honesty, authenticity and clarity in verbal and written communications, as well as demonstrating respect and empathy in personal interactions. We don’t trust people just because they do their job well; we trust those with whom we connect in a more personal way.”

She added: “Excellent communication skills are often what separate great leaders from all the rest. It requires practice and, sometimes, coaching. Leaders who are strong communicators look for opportunities to engage their people in conversations. They have the capacity to listen attentively, keep an open mind, speak truthfully and see other points of view. This creates an opportunity for leaders to demonstrate genuine interest, explore career needs and take advantage of opportunities to provide constructive coaching.”

Leverone believes that those leaders who are strong communicators are able to gain more trust among employees and even inspire them to be more loyal. It's also important that these leaders are sincere and truly address the concerns of employees. When employees feel that what they say and feel matters, the entire workforce will be more committed to the organization's long-term goals. This, of course, will result in higher levels of productivity overall.