I was a trusted employee when I was 18 years old. I opened at fast food restaurant where I worked. There wasn’t a breakfast shift so my arrival got everything ready to open for lunch. I was the only one scheduled and I started work at 6:00am. Hindsight that statement alone that could make me a trusted employee. If I overslept there was no one scheduled for 4 more hours. My attendance could make or break an entire lunch shift.
I came in and turned off the alarm. My access included the cooler where the meats I needed to slice and pre-weigh were stored. I made up salads, sliced tomatoes, onions, and I portioned out dressings for the salads. I got the ovens fired up for potatoes and prepared pans of potato cakes to be baked throughout the day. Finally, I washed all the dishes I used. By 10:00am the next person came in to help me get the front counter ready and the had the cash for the register drawers. I never gave much thought to my access to the inventory or the impact on the business if I ever missed my shift. I never missed a scheduled shift.
In that role, I was a trusted employee who made $.50 more than minimum wage and I loved my job. The schedule they gave me was a treasure. I enjoyed what I did. I was trusted and appreciated and it made all the difference in my actions and commitment. After I got a ‘real job’ in an office my boss and I made arrangements that I would still open on Sundays for them. They struggled to replace my schedule. I didn’t understand, who wouldn’t want that shift and duties?
I was trusted and appreciated and it made all the difference in my actions and commitment.
After a few decades to think about that feeling of trust here’s what I feel it comes down to:
- We both did what we said. I showed up and delivered consistently. Likewise, my boss never messed with my schedule or duties.
- We had open dialog. My boss would compliment my work and give me feedback. I loved any feedback because I knew he noticed what I was doing and cared. I could ask any questions about the business and he would answer them! He gave me real insights into why I was doing things a certain way.
- I didn’t gossip. Things that were shared with me that only pertained to what I was doing stayed with me. Sure I would share good insight or helpful ways to do things but I kept my morning work to myself.
- I owned my mistakes. I made a few and my boss called me on them. They were mistakes and not intentional, he knew that and so did I. My boss was good to explain the impact and coach me on what I needed to correct. I felt safe that one mistake wouldn’t finish me.
- We mutually felt a fair value exchange. I was only paid a little more for what could seem like a lot more responsibility. Truth was, I valued the experience and the schedule over the money.
I was so lucky to have this experience early on in my career. I felt that same feeling anytime I held a job where I was a trusted employee. Seek to earn trust by working on the observations above. Give trust to get it in return.
When have you felt like a trusted employee?