Every manager and supervisor wants their employees to trust them. Earning trust is difficult, but once it exists in a relationship, the sky is the limit. Employees who trust their superiors are more satisfied, productive and innovative.

They are also less likely to feel a need to be represented by a union, file lawsuits against their employers and probably even work safer. So, how does one earn the trust of employees? This article offers five steps on the way toward earning employees’ trust.

Talk with your employees

Most supervisors have heard of the "management by walking around" theory. Rather than spending all day in an office or cubical or just sending emails, supervisors should get out among employees, be available for employees to talk to them, listen to them and initiate conversations with them. Supervisors should get to know the unique "story" of each and every employee through in-depth conversations.

Respect your employees

No matter the position, there is honor and dignity in work and doing a job well. Supervisors should appreciate and respect the work of employees who report to them. Employees should feel respected by their supervisors' words and actions.

Supervisors should ensure that employees are able to work in an environment that is free from discrimination and harassment based on any of the legally protected categories, such as race, religion, sex, national origin, etc. Employees should be free from any retaliation for expressing views different from their supervisors or complaining about any unlawful practices.

Understand your employees

By talking, listening and observing employees, and applying their own life experiences, supervisors should be able to empathize with and understand the unique perspective of their employees. Supervisors should be aware that people of different generations, economic backgrounds, races, sexes, religions or national origins have different perspectives that should be considered in making workplace decisions in determining appropriate means of communications and for motivating employees.

Self-awareness is necessary to understand how you deal with your employees

Before you can truly understand others, you must understand yourself. What generational context do you bring to your perspective and decision-making? What is your personality type? What are your own goals and expectations in work and life? What are your strengths and limitations? What are you own "hot buttons"?

You need to know the truth about yourself before you can communicate with, motivate and manage others.

Train your employees to do their jobs and to be able to meet their own goals

Most employees have an unquenched thirst for more training. Few actions mean more to employees than when their supervisor or employer invests in them personally by providing them with formal or even informal training to get new skills.

Employees understand that they have more options and upward opportunity if they have more or better skills. They also know that they have more security when they have multiple skills and appreciate almost any training that employers provide them. The act of training manifests the employer's concern and respect, and employees feel that they "matter." That counts much more than any words may express.

Supervisors must work hard every day to earn and maintain the trust of their employees. This article has provided just a few ways that supervisors can earn and keep that trust. Of course, trust can be earned in many other ways and this list is not all-inclusive. Hopefully, you can apply these tips to earn the T.R.U.S.T. of your employees and to be a better supervisor.