Managers, here’s why honest feedback matters at work

August 6, 2015, 4:30 PM UTC
Courtesy of Michael Benabib

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 Rich Cavallaro, president and CEO of Skanska USA.

Building trust starts with creating stability and confidence by leading with a steady hand: leaders should not overreact to ups and downs, because they will happen in any business. Also, leaders should never play the blame game. Problems will always arise so it’s important to get the team focused on the solution, rather than trying to assign blame. And I believe in taking care of my employees, which means ensuring that each and every one of them feels a connection to their work at Skanska. Through this, they become invested in the outcome of their individual contributions.

However, the single biggest element to building trust is creating an environment where everyone feels safe to speak up to contribute their ideas and expertise. In today’s multigenerational, diverse offices – where millennials work side by side with baby boomers – it’s especially important to make sure that all team members feel valued, respected and engaged, regardless of their gender, race, age or work experience.

See also: How a boombox helped this CEO build trust with his employees

Inclusion directly impacts performance, especially when it comes to generating innovation. Inclusive groups facilitate more ideas, better ideas and different ideas. On an individual level, performance improves when a person feels included and that has a direct impact on the group. Employees who believe they have more of a voice will exert more effort on behalf of the group, going above and beyond the call of duty. I want my employees to trust not only me, but also the organization, and feel confident their contributions are valued and have impact.

I am a true believer in the power of team building, as there are so many examples of teams delivering remarkable results that could never have been achieved otherwise. We can learn valuable business lessons from sports teams like the 1980 U.S. Men’s hockey team, which showed what happens when individuals subvert their egos for the good of the team. Take the time to carefully evaluate how teams are structured in your organization. By fostering an inclusive culture and encouraging all of the people within your organization to think and speak up, you will naturally create a culture where employees are happier, more loyal and collaborative. And always remember that trust needs to flow in both directions from employee to leader and vice versa.

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

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