There are two different philosophies on trust. The first philosophy is that you trust people until they break your trust. The second is that you don’t trust people until they earn your trust. Trust is the foundation of any relationship, so either way, we all must work on building and establishing trust.
That being said, I think it’s disheartening that “82% of people don’t trust their boss to tell the truth.” (Edelman’s Trust Barometer, 2013). Trust appears to be dwindling in the workplace, but it didn’t just erode overnight. Authors Dennis & Michelle Reina of Rebuilding Trust in the Workplace believe that “90-95% of trust breakdown is related to small, everyday betrayals in which people let each other down.”
So if trust took time to break, it’s also going to take time to build. There is no single activity that will build trust overnight. Rather, we establish and create trust with each other over time through consistent actions, behaviors, and values.
Below are some of the most important things you can do to build trust with your co-workers.
- Be Congruent: Do your words match your actions? If your words and actions are not congruent, people will start to question your credibility, which erodes their trust. Live out your values through your daily actions, behaviors and decisions.
- Be Reliable: Do you make promises you can’t keep? People place their trust in people they can count on and who will follow through as agreed upon. Or those who will at least be forthright when things don’t go as planned.
- Take Ownership: Do you own up to the positive or negative consequences of your actions? The honest truth is we all make mistakes at work. To maintain the respect and trust of our coworkers we must own those mistakes. Be willing to communicate the lessons you learn from your mistakes and move forward.
- Listen for Understanding: Do you take the time to understand the opinion of others? The act of being understood and heard is very important to people. They want to know that you don’t just assume the worst, but rather seek to understand the full story before taking action.
- Solicit & Share Feedback: Do you ask for and provide honest feedback? It can be scary to give or receive honest feedback, but it is necessary to establish trust. Find the courage to communicate your expectations with others and tell them how well they are meeting those expectations. Then don’t forget to ask how well you are meeting their expectations.
Building trust begins with you. What first step are you willing to take to cultivate a culture of trust in your workplace?
As an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) Trainer with The Village Business Institute, Dawn Kaiser lives her passion–to energize, encourage and equip others to live their strongest lives now. She is a motivational speaker, writer, teacher, and positive-thinker extraordinaire. She draws on more than 12 years of experience in the Human Resource/Organizational Development field, a Bachelors of Business Administration from the University of MN Duluth and a Masters of Education from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She is also a certified HR Professional and a life-long learner.
Dawn is available to speak nationwide. For more info, visit Dawn’s website.