By: Chris Schneider, Director of Employee Development
A sentiment that is often expressed by employees is, “I want to feel empowered to make my own decisions.” Another common thought among managers is, “I want my team to follow my guidance and leadership.” Without a mutual sense of trust between employees and managers, neither of these statements is likely to happen…here’s why:
At the core of any leader-follower relationship is trust and empowerment. A supervisor can lead and grow the talent in their charge by encouraging them to solve problems and allowing them to try new ways of accomplishing tasks. Even when ideas aren’t successful, a good manager creates a safe environment for employees to learn from the most powerful teacher there is: experience. In this same scenario, as the supervisor is encouraging and trusting their employees, they are also gaining valuable insight into each team member’s skills and capabilities. As these relationships evolve, so does the trust on both sides that enables a strong team dynamic.
Trust and empowerment are equally necessary in order for the leader to actually lead. Experienced leaders know that power does not come from above, power comes from below. The true power of a leader is reflected by their ability to instill a commitment in their followers to act. As such, a CEO, President, or a Branch Manager cannot force a team to follow, it is the team itself that must decide if they will trust and follow that leader, thereby empowering that manager to lead.
Ultimately, it’s the trust and commitment from both sides that builds the rapport that’s necessary to accomplish our jobs. When we feel empowered, listened to and trusted, productivity and job satisfaction increases. While trust isn’t something that can be magically created overnight, it’s important for leaders and followers to understand their role in building that rapport and to capitalize on opportunities as they present themselves, helping us all to grow together as a team.