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Want to Improve Team Morale? It Starts With Trust

Morale boosters don't only come in the form of office snacks. Sometimes, it needs to start with trust. Follow these eight simple steps to get started.

Christina Taler
Mar 14, 20162 minutes
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We've all been there before — having a boss who doesn't trust you to do your job can demoralize even the most productive of workers. Studies show that only 12% of employees leave their job for more money, so there's obviously a lot more at play. Now that you're on the other side, you know the importance of maintaining employee morale.

So where does it all start? Put simply, trust.

Trust is the essential ingredient to a strong team and empowers high-performance, risk-taking employees. If you're looking to build better team moral, follow these eight simple steps to see the workplace vibe improve.

Make a Commitment to Trust in Company Culture

Trust, or lack thereof, can quickly percolate in a toxic environment. Micromanagement and disregard for a healthy work-life balance are two surefire ways to violate trust, which has been proven to result in poor performance, job satisfaction, and loyalty. A company-wide commitment to respect will translate across all facets of the organization.

Lead By Example

To quote Ernest Hemingway, "The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them." You can start this with simple gestures, like being truthful when changes are afoot within the company. Keep people in the loop, so they don't feel like they've been jilted if a big decision is made without them. At Justworks, CEO Isaac Oates holds an all-hands meeting every week to update people about what's going on in different departments. Sometimes, it's the little gestures that count.

Related article: 10 Easy Ways to Boost Team Morale on a Budget

Practice Empathy in the Workplace

When you were younger, maybe you were shocked to learn that your teachers didn't solely spend their days within the confines of school and actually had lives outside of the classroom. Learn from this watershed realization. Your teammates also come with their own hopes, frustrations, personal relationships, and life experiences that shape their perspectives and approach. If you take the time to get to know your colleagues as people outside the office it will lead to better collaboration inside the office. In fact, studies back up that humble and empathetic business leaders are more successful.

Define Expectations Early On 

Did you know that only half of employees know what's expected of them in their role? That ambiguity can lead to sagging morale. Make sure you're communicating with your employees and allowing them to come to you with questions. It's a great way to build trust, and it will fend off many potential sources of frustration.

Don't Deal in Fear 

Trust is confidence in another person's abilities. Threats, accusations, and disparaging remarks all lead you down a rabbit hole from which it is hard to emerge. If someone makes a mistake or could benefit from more support, use it as a learning opportunity and remain constructive.