How a boombox helped this CEO build trust with his employees

August 6, 2015, 1:00 PM UTC
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Kyle Wong, CEO of Pixlee
Copyright 2015. All rights reserved.

The Leadership Insider network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in business contribute answers to timely questions about careers and leadership. Today’s answer for: How do you build trust with your employees? is by Kyle Wong, CEO of Pixlee.

When you boil it down, building trust with your employees is pretty simple: Set clear expectations and keep your promises — no matter how small.

When the founders at Pixlee were first getting started in 2012, we visited the Stanford Shopping Center and fell in love with a Sony boombox that was for sale there. At the time, Pixlee was a little more than a whiteboard idea, so we couldn’t justify the expense. But we promised the team that if we ever moved into our own office (we were in a startup accelerator at the time), we would buy it.


Even though a few years went by before we moved from a few co-working spaces and into our own office, we still bought the boombox — and not just for the music.

While the purchase might sound trivial to some, it’s an example of how even the smallest promises are important to keep if you want to build trust amongst your team.

See also: Want your employees to work harder? Eliminate your offices

The single most important way to build trust with your employees is to do what you say you are going to do. Whether you have set expectations with employees that they will receive a quarterly bonus of a certain amount, or you have promised to put together edits on a report by Monday, follow through. If you don’t, it can have lasting repercussions on their images of you as a manager.

At Pixlee, we believe in rewarding people who get stuff done. It’s one of our core values that we try to live by every day. For our managers, this means acknowledging employees for their hard work and accomplishments. It also means vouching for them and rewarding them in compensation and additional responsibilities.

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Read all answers to the Leadership Insider question: How do you build trust with your employees?

How this CEO regained trust with his employees by David DeWolf, president and CEO of 3Pillar Global.

This is the best way to build trust with your employees by Ryan Harwood, CEO of PureWow.

The real reason your employees quit by Robert Hohman, CEO of Glassdoor.



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