We’ve all heard the saying, ‘people don’t leave jobs; they leave leaders. The original version of this maxim was coined by author Marcus Buckingham back in 1998 and has, in the intervening years, proved itself to be true for many people.

While many factors will play into a team member’s decision to stay or go, their trust in their leader is the glue that holds everything together.

Successful organisations run on trust. In The Neuroscience of Trust, the research found that: Compared with people at low-trust companies, people at high-trust companies report 74% less stress, 106% more energy at work, 50% higher productivity, 13% fewer sick days, 76% more engagement, 29% more satisfaction with their lives, 40% less burnout.

Research also shows that one of the most critical factors impacting employee satisfaction and engagement is the leader’s ability to create environments where people feel valued and connected.

This can be done by understanding what drives each team member and then:

  • Encouraging their strengths
  • Allowing them opportunities for growth
  • Providing them with clear goals for advancement within the organisation or industry
  • Helping them to find meaning and purpose in their work.

When leaders value connection, trust and belonging are fostered among individuals and teams.
The more employees trust their leader, the more they are willing to take risks, try new things and contribute their best ideas to help achieve organisational goals. Trust requires consistent behaviours and clear communication, and, importantly, leaders must be willing to give trust to receive it.

Want to boost your trust factor? Here are three questions you can ask yourself as a leader:

  • What do I know about everyone on my team?
  • How well does my team know me?
  • How can I communicate with them more effectively so we can work together better as a team?

When team members have strong relationships with their leader, they are more engaged – which leads to higher performance and productivity (and 21% more profitability) – they are also more likely to recommend their organisation as a great place to work. In the current climate of an extremely tight labour market, plus increased burnout and overwhelm, being a leader who can create a positive work environment has never been more important.

The good news is, creating such an environment isn’t difficult; it just requires leaders to build on what they do well already and be consistent in making connection.