Making Sense of Trust in the Workplace

Trust is paramount when it comes to effective workplace relationships. If you trust your team members, colleagues and senior leaders, you’ll get more done, enjoy greater job satisfaction and see better overall results.

However, trust can also be a vague concept in business. We often hear that “there’s a lack of trust” in a group or that a team “needs to build more trust.” When we get more specific and detailed in looking at trust, that’s when the lights come on and the results happen.

The following 10 attributes are key to trusting relationships in the workplace:

  1. Competence: When you believe in someone’s competence, you value their knowledge and abilities and know that they won’t let you down.
  2. trust signOpenness: Do you and other team members share information openly, freely and clearly? Openness is critical to good communication.
  3. Integrity: Integrity is integral to trust. This simply means keeping promises and behaving consistently.
  4. Mutuality: Mutuality is a big word that essentially encompasses collaboration and cooperation. It’s all about working well together and giving each other the benefit of the doubt.
  5. Compatibility: While it’s good to work with others who have different strengths and talents, it’s also important that a company’s leaders have compatibility in terms of objectives and values. Compatibility helps teams move in the same direction.
  6. Good will: Good will gets to the softer side of trust – it’s when you show concern and interest in others, which leads to positive team dynamics and the building of trust.
  7. Predictability: Surprise parties may be fun for friends, but not in business. Predictability means that you are reliable and that you offer consistent responses and work.
  8. Safety: Work must feel like a safe place for trust to build. Team members should feel safe in sharing their opinions and ideas.
  9. Inclusion: Trust vanishes when people feel like they are left out – at work and in personal interactions. Inclusion will bolster feelings of good will, safety and, of course, trust.
  10. Accessibility: Are you available? Do others readily share their thoughts with you? When you’re accessible at work, you create a positive, open environment that can lead to more productivity and more job satisfaction for everyone on your team.

If you have a trusting team or organization, you probably see many of these qualities in action every day. If not, then you might want to zero in on the areas that need attention, so that you can create more trust and more success in both the short and long term.

About The Author

Scott Borland, Founder & President of CYGNUS Management Consultants Inc, , is a recognized expert in helping executives host strategic conversations and obtain high impact feedback. He brings insightful perspective and proven strategies to strengthen the alignment between strategy and leadership behaviour. Scott has presented frequently at regional/national conferences and is a regular contributor to online journals/blogs. Follow Scott on Twitter or add him as a connection on LinkedIn.

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