Gallop’s meta-analysis of high engagement leads to positive outcomes including higher productivity, quality, and profitability.  Engagement requires leaders to have strong connections with work and colleagues, feeling like a real contributor, and enjoying lots of opportunities to learn.  The January-February 2017 issue of the Harvard Business Review article by Paul Zak, “The Neuroscience of Trust” provides leaders with eight behaviors that foster trust:

  1.  Recognize excellence:  Set goals, celebrate goals with public recognition, letters.
  2. Induce “challenge stress:”   Set difficult but achievable goals and check in frequently
  3. Give people discretion in how they do their work:  Leaders give the “what needs to be done” and give the team or individual the freedom to find the “how.”
  4. Enable job crafting:  Give employees some freedom to pick projects to work on; they’ll pick the ones they care about the most and give more effort.
  5. Share information broadly:   Only 40% of employees report they are well informed.  On-going communication is key.
  6. Intentionally build relationships:   Sponsor lunches, after-work parties, team building activities and get creative in a pandemic environment over social media
  7. Show vulnerability:   Ask for help is a sign of a secure leader.
  8. Facilitate whole-person growth:   Adopt a growth mindset when developing talent.  Set clear goals, give people autonomy, provide consistent feedback instead of backward looking performance appraisals.  Ask, “Am I helping you get your next job?”  Discussion include work-life integration, family, time for recreation and reflection.

A high trust environment improves business outcomes and how people treat each other.  Give some reflection on what you can do on these eight management behaviors.