Five Secrets to Gaining Credibility with Your Team for Outstanding Results

Towers Perrin, the corporate benefits consulting firm, surveyed over 1000 American workers and found the following:

* Only 51 percent of all workers trust their organizations to tell the truth in employee communications

* Only 48 percent of all workers with more than five years of tenure believe their companies are honest in their employee communications

* Only 44 percent of all workers over age 50 trust their organizations to tell them the truth in employee communications

Organizations then wonder why worker productivity decreases, employee loyalty is at an all time low, and human resource situations increase. Your employees see everyday, at least in their eyes, the following:

* Record profits, yet massive layoffs

* Hearing how important they are, yet having their jobs outsourced

* Experiencing changes to their jobs, yet not being asked for their ideas

* Being told how they are doing a great job, yet being yelled at for mistakes in front of colleagues

No wonder there is tension in the workplace. When I work with organizations, the following three concerns are the ones usually express:

“My supervisor, manager, etc., doesn’t know how to communicate with me.”
“I am the last to hear about bad news.”
“He/she never asks me for my ideas.”

Because of these concerns, there is a divide, professionally, emotionally, mentally, and physically between the employees and their supervisor/manager, etc., which leads to lost productivity.

The following are five secrets that will increase your credibility with employees and produce outstanding results for your organization:

1. Be Honest
You owe it to your employees and to colleagues to be honest. Tell your employees exactly where they stand within the organization. Be positive, yet don’t sugar coat it. Once your employees know where they stand, use this as a stepping stone for improvements and solutions you can work on together.

2. Be Consistent
Be consistent with your communication among employees. You will lose credibility with employees if they see you communicate differently with different employees concerning the same situations. For example, if you berate an employee (which I’m sure you would never do) for a mistake, yet say nothing to another employee for the same mistake, you will lose credibility.

Also, be consistent with the way you communicate your moods. Remember, if you project a professional manner, no matter the situation, your employees will emulate your behavior.

3. Communicate Bad News ASAP
There is nothing worse for employees than hearing bad news from human resources, shareholders, the news, friends, family, and even their religious leader, but not from you, their manager. The biggest reasons I hear for not telling employees are the following:

“Management asked me to keep it secret.”

“I don’t have all the facts yet.”

“I don’t think the employees can handle the bad news.”

Well, guess what:

* Employees always find out about bad news (sometimes before their supervisors/managers, etc.).

* Employees always appreciate when you share whatever information you have with them as long as you are honest with them.

* Employees can take more than you think if you are sensitive to their concerns and express these concerns with them.

Will some of them be unhappy in the short run? Some employees may not be happy; however, they will respect you as a manager that respects them and keeps them informed of all news, good or bad.

4. Give and Receive Constant Feedback
Employees want feedback on, “How am I doing?” By giving constant feedback, you are developing a bond of trust that improves the performance of your employees.

Remember, your employees are always doing something well. Make sure you come from a positive position of improvement when giving feedback. Let your employees know that you appreciate their efforts and the difference they make each day.

Also make it “safe” for employees to give you feedback. Let them know that no one is perfect (I know we think we are) and that you value their feedback to make the work environment a “win-win” situation for all involved. Teach your employees how to give feedback, both positive and constructive. Remember, as a leader, you are constantly developing your employees for the next level.

5. Ask for Employee Solutions
People go to work to succeed, not fail. Employees also go to work because they want to make a difference at their job. One of the best ways for employees to feel they are making a difference is to involve them in the solution creation process.

Make asking for solutions from your employees an ongoing process. Whether during staff meetings, one-on-one sessions, etc., make it safe for employees to develop their own solutions. If given the opportunity, your employees will come up with solutions that are innovative, proactive, and in some cases better than any solution we can ever develop.

To motivate your employees to create solutions, you must do the following:

* Give them credit for the solutions
* Create reward systems for solutions
* Make it easy for them to communicate solutions
* Massage solutions for positive results

Very importantly, if employees share a solution with you, please, please, please, give them feedback ASAP. You will lose employee credibility if they think you don’t care or are taking credit for their ideas.

Apply these techniques now and you will gain credibility and increase productivity with your employees while developing a high performance environment that achieves outstanding results.

Source: Towers Perrin, Enhancing Corporate Credibility-Is It Time to Take the “Spin” Out of Employee Communication? January, 2004