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Why you should never cover up your mistakes at work

August 13, 2015, 5:00 PM UTC

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 Tom Gimbel, CEO of the LaSalle Network.

Trust is something earned, not given. It’s also not a one-way street. And you can’t expect employees to trust you if you’re not open and honest with them. If someone feels trusted and valued by management, they usually give trust in return. Here are a few easy ways to build continued trust with employees:

Own your mistakes
We’re all human and everyone makes mistakes — it’s how you react to these mistakes that really matters. Don’t try to cover them up. Discuss them with your staff so they can learn from them, too. Explain what happened and what needs to be done differently in the future to get better results. If you don’t learn, you can’t grow.

Build real relationships
Be vulnerable. Share information about your family, passions and interests. Be real. How can you expect employees to open up if you don’t? Truly get to know your staff, beyond the surface level. Learn about their family and friends. Get to know the important people in their lives, outside of work. Use people’s names in conversations. Take time to talk about things other than work — it goes a long way.

See also: Why employers need to stop policing social media

Be accountable
I challenge my staff to hold themselves and one another accountable every single day. We even have banners hanging on our walls as daily reminders. Share company goals and explain what it will take to achieve them. Do what you say you are going to do when you are going to do it. And when you don’t, own it. Trust is built when there is transparency and a strong line of communication.

Empower employees
I always tell my staff to act first and apologize later. It’s better to ask for forgiveness than for permission. Train your staff so they feel comfortable making decisions ‘in the moment’ instead of running to management for approval on everything.

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Always be learning
There should never be a point in your career where you’re not growing or learning. Take what you learn and share it with your organization. Show employees you want to be great. Talk about attending seminars and workshops; tell them what books you’re reading. I’ve been encouraging my employees to listen to at least one podcast a week. When your employees see how invested you are in your career, they’re more likely to trust the direction the company.

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

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How a boombox helped this CEO build trust with his employees by Kyle Wong, CEO of Pixlee.

Want your employees to work harder? Eliminate your offices by Lars Albright, co-founder and CEO of SessionM.

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.