The 1-Question Employee Survey That Tells You Everything You Need To Know

Employee engagement and business culture are rightfully getting more and more attention because of the impact on organizational results. What I’m about to share applies to family engagement and the culture in your home as well. There is just one question to ask that will tell you everything you need to know. When the response to this question is given, be sure that you not only listen to what is being said, but that you are also hearing what isn’t being said.

That one question – Do you trust your boss?

When team members trust their boss (parent, teacher, friend, leader), they will work harder, contribute more, have more fun, feel appreciated, and will stay with an organization longer. That checks off quite a few of those employee engagement boxes.

Now, there will be a very different response from the person who truly trusts a boss than from the person who doesn’t trust a boss at all even if they both say they do. You’ll know the difference by watching for body language signals, ease of answer, and making, or avoiding, eye contact as a few examples. Asking a follow-up question requesting examples of why they trust their boss will also be telling. Put your spidey senses in motion. You’ll know if there’s a trust issue in the environment because they will likely not trust an anonymous survey either.

Not all people who head a team know how to be good leaders because they might not have had good role models along the way. However, before we look at anyone else, we must always turn the mirror on ourselves. What is our relationship with these folks? Are we doing everything to create the trust we want to see on our teams?

Here are seven ways to move that trust in the right direction.

1. Do what you said you’d do when you said you’d do it. If you told a team member you would meet with them on their career development don’t reschedule and make them feel like something else is more important. The same goes for your kids’ activities. Show up when you say you will.

2. Give credit and brag about your team members. Nothing is worse than a boss taking credit for what someone else did. If it’s happened to you, you know it’s a lousy feeling. Catch your team members doing things right as often as possible. People including spouses, children and friends have a basic human need to feel valued. Be generous with your praise and you will find much more to praise.

3. Be authentic, transparent, and approachable. However you want to say it, the quickest way to build trust is by being vulnerable. When people realize that you are real and are willing to admit that you don’t know it all, they will be willing to work a lot harder for you. The courage to show up vulnerable is game changing and very few are willing to take the risk.

4. You go first. Always be willing to go first and demonstrate to your team that you won’t ask them to do anything you aren’t willing to do yourself. Be the role model. The do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do approach is not effective either at the office or at home. If you observe behaviors you don’t like, check in with yourself to see if you are leading the pack on that behavior.

5. Have their back. Beyond giving credit, employees want to feel that you’ve got their back, especially if they put themselves out there and take a risk. Stand up for them when something goes wrong, and they will do the same when you need them most.

6. Get to know them. How well do you know your team members? Do you know about their dreams, their family, their hobbies and what they are passionate about? Your team members are real people with real emotions, real struggles and very real dreams. Ask them what they need from you. If they trust you, they will tell you.

7. Make their growth your #1 priority. How are you coaching, mentoring and developing those around you? They are not here for you. You are here for them. When we shift from “What’s in it for me?” to “How can I help you grow?”, we truly become trustworthy leaders.

How trusting is your team? This our expertise at High5 Leadership. Contact us at to get a free leadership strategy session.