Do Employees Trust You? 11 Entrepreneurs Reveal How to Build Credibility as a Leader

Entrepreneurs share how to effectively increase credibility with employees.

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Do your employees take you seriously? Are you a reliable leader? Do you have the respect of your peers?

Building credibility with your team is essential. “Credibility is often considered to be at the foundation of leadership. Regardless of how smart, sophisticated and savvy you might be, if your colleagues or direct reports don’t believe you, then they won’t willingly follow. People have to believe that your word can be trusted — you will do what you say you will do — and that your actions are aligned with your words.”

Eleven entrepreneurs share how to effectively increase credibility with employees:

1. Facilitate creativity in the workplace.

“Build your employees the same way you build your brand; engage them, enrich them and allow them an unrestricted environment to create. At BrightLine we use the phrase ‘data driven design’ and that is fueled by the individual creativity of our global human capital. We engage employees the same way we create interactive advertising–we consistently work to turn monologues into  dialogues.”

– Rob Aksman, Co-Founder and Chief Experience Officer of BrightLine: @BrightLine_TV

2. Give employees consistent feedback.

“By giving constant feedback, good or bad, you can develop a great relationship with your team. It’s key to make it a two-way street by encouraging your team to give you feedback as well. Too many leaders are afraid of negative feedback, but it’s an essential part of growing as a person and inevitably it’s essential to [growing] your company.”

– Tom Ellingson, Co-Founder and CEO of Fandeavor.com: @fandeavor

3. Practice servant leadership.

” … Practice servant leadership, which I explain to team members as, ‘Your role is to catch fish. If you don’t know how, I’m happy to show you, though you’re welcome to do it your way as long as the results are good.’ My role is to provide resources and solve problems, such as additional fishing poles and finding the best fishing holes.”

– Jeff Pieta, President of Shiftgig: @JeffPieta

4. Never ask employees to do something you aren’t willing to do.

“My first boss out of college gave me a piece of advice that I will never forget.  He told me to ‘never ask an employee to do something I am not willing to do myself.’  When you are running a small business, that can be everything from taking out the trash, making coffee or learning a new skill that will benefit the company.”

– Kate Ross, Principal of Ross Business Management: @RossBizMGMT

5. Educate and empower employees.

“Empower [your employees] to make decisions and support them in those decisions. Where you as the business owner may disagree, have dialogue about alternative solutions going forward. Further the empowerment by helping team members learn how to make better decisions–host office-wide ‘lunch and learns,’ invite them to attend local seminars, workshops, and lectures … and challenge staff with questions and alternatives, etc. Always be fair, honest, open and approachable. Communicate to team members that they are empowered to have a voice and to use it.”

– Caroline Callaway, President of Bolt Public Relations: @boltpr

6. Be the standard, be honest, and show your human side

“Be The standard. If you want employees to work hard, deliver quality, and care about customers, then quite clearly you need to do the same. Too many times small business owners think that the company rules don’t apply to them.  I think quite the opposite; you need to be the living example of the rules. [Being] honest also seems like a no-brainer, but keeping secrets from staff, talking in political-speak, and telling half-truths are all wonderful ways to destroy employee trust. Show your human side. At the end of the day, teammates want to know that their boss is a human being. Taking a genuine interest in their personal lives, spending some time together outside of work (but not too much!) and sharing who you are as a person is a great way to earn loyalty and trust.  Basically, be a good friend and mentor … not just ‘the boss.'”

– Casey Holloran, Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer of Costa Rican Vacations: @CRVTravel

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