Trust in the Workplace

Whenever I teach a workshop on communication I start with the concept of trust. Why do I begin with the concept of trust? Because without trust, communication is superficial. Think about it –if your communication, as a leader, is shallow or non-existent, your employees, your teams, and your colleagues will essentially ignore what you are trying to say. Have you ever been in an organization or on a team where there were trust issues? Where you couldn’t believe anything your leader told you or you didn’t trust your colleagues? That is exhausting and I admit, even though I tried to tough it out, I ended up leaving. You don’t want your employees to feel that way, so let’s explore trust in the workplace.

Trust in the workplace is a fundamental building block and can be established, enhanced, and accelerated through effective communication. Trust can take a long time and a lot of effort to develop, but it takes only one event to weaken or eliminate it.  If you believe there are trust issues in your company or your team here are some things to consider.

First, know why Trust is an important factor in communicating.

  • Trust provides positive morale and team motivation.
  • Trust allows for team collaboration.
  • Trust improves efficiency.
  • Trust empowers decision making.
  • Trust decreases stress levels.
  • Trust improves an employee’s performance.

Second, know how you as a leader can build trust.

  • Do what you say you are going to do – be reliable!
  • Be transparent and honest.
  • Take ownership of your mistakes, issues, and your milestones / celebrations.
  • Be proactive in understanding and talking about issues.
  • Exhibit empathy with a genuine concern for the wellbeing of others.
  • Maintain accountability by setting clear priorities.

Everyone in leadership has heard the advice to lead by example. When building trust, or rebuilding trust, it begins with you – the Leader. This concept is essential and non-negotiable as far as I am concerned. You must listen to your team / employees, deliver on what you promise, value the people around you, and resolve conflicts quickly and professionally. If you want your team to behave in a certain way, and most importantly trust you – you have to be trustworthy yourself.

Remember, actions speak louder than words so put your money where your mouth is and let’s get to work!