How to Gain Trust in the Workplace

Reviewed Jan 15, 2019

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Summary

Trust means:

  • Doing what you say you’re going to do
  • Communicating openly
  • Creating a positive environment

Trust is so key to a properly functioning workplace that it can best be illustrated by picturing what happens when trust is absent.

What lack of trust can do

When co-workers don’t trust each other, problems are not communicated. That means issues small and large go unaddressed, and the bottom line is hurt by missed deadlines, mangled projects, angry clients, and staff turnover.

When trust is not there, people start acting out of fear and defensiveness. They start guarding their turf and not sharing the knowledge needed to get the job done. People become more interested in making themselves or their department look good—and they stop focusing on company goals.

Without trust, suspicion, anger, hidden agendas, manipulation, and hurt feelings bloom.

Lack of trust also puts a curb on initiative and innovation. People become afraid to express ideas and take measured risks—the ingredients for growth.

What does “trust” in the workplace mean?

“Trust” can mean a number of things to different people. For many, it means that you can count on people to:

  • Do what they say they’re going to do
  • Communicate problems and issues as needed
  • Fulfill promises and contracts
  • Keep private what needs to be kept private
  • Be honest
  • Not lie
  • Make a positive environment in which all can be effective, responsible, and innovative

People have to earn trust, and even then trust is a calculated risk. But at the same time, it’s important to risk trust rather than be the type of person who distrusts everyone and everything. The latter person is building walls that will limit her experiences, her network, her relationships, and her access to ideas and opportunities.

How to be trusted

  • Show trust in others. That doesn’t mean being gullible or naive, but it does mean making sure you are not suspicious of others without cause. To be trusted you must communicate clearly, regularly, and honestly with co-workers, bosses, and clients. If there’s a problem, let the right people know.
  • Make sure people can come to you and let you know if there’s a problem. If you always react with rage or hatred, people are going to avoid telling you bad news. That doesn’t help solve problems. Instead, thank people for pointing out the problem, and then work as a team on a solution. You will gain in the long run by stopping issues before they get out of hand and by creating an atmosphere of trust. These open-communication rules should be stated upfront and in writing and reviewed often.
  • Don’t over-promise and then under deliver—but always deliver on time and fulfill expectations. It’s much better to give yourself a longer deadline and then bring the project in on time and in good shape, then promise big and come up short. If problems come up that affect your deadline, tell the person right away, set a new and realistic due date, then meet it.
  • If you mess up, take responsibility and move on. If someone else messes up, forgive him and move on.
  • Become familiar with workplace rules and regulations, and don’t violate them.
  • Do not indulge in gossip and negative talk. If you’re cornered by someone who is gossiping or ranting, you can:
    • Walk away
    • Say you’re withholding judgment until you have more facts
    • Find something positive to add to the conversation
    • State a different opinion

If you’re a manager

  • Give people responsibility and then don’t hover. Let them make some key decisions.
  • Back your workers up if there’s a problem, only if they have earned that level of trust.
  • Don’t spy on staff and divert energy trying to catch them taking a longer lunch, coming in late, or wasting time. If it gets out of hand, then you can deal with it. The trust you build by giving people some flexibility and allowing for human weaknesses will benefit the company more than if you start acting like a paranoid Big Brother.
  • Make sure office policies are fair and apply to low-level and senior staff alike.
By Amy Fries

Summary

Trust means:

  • Doing what you say you’re going to do
  • Communicating openly
  • Creating a positive environment

Trust is so key to a properly functioning workplace that it can best be illustrated by picturing what happens when trust is absent.

What lack of trust can do

When co-workers don’t trust each other, problems are not communicated. That means issues small and large go unaddressed, and the bottom line is hurt by missed deadlines, mangled projects, angry clients, and staff turnover.

When trust is not there, people start acting out of fear and defensiveness. They start guarding their turf and not sharing the knowledge needed to get the job done. People become more interested in making themselves or their department look good—and they stop focusing on company goals.

Without trust, suspicion, anger, hidden agendas, manipulation, and hurt feelings bloom.

Lack of trust also puts a curb on initiative and innovation. People become afraid to express ideas and take measured risks—the ingredients for growth.

What does “trust” in the workplace mean?

“Trust” can mean a number of things to different people. For many, it means that you can count on people to:

  • Do what they say they’re going to do
  • Communicate problems and issues as needed
  • Fulfill promises and contracts
  • Keep private what needs to be kept private
  • Be honest
  • Not lie
  • Make a positive environment in which all can be effective, responsible, and innovative

People have to earn trust, and even then trust is a calculated risk. But at the same time, it’s important to risk trust rather than be the type of person who distrusts everyone and everything. The latter person is building walls that will limit her experiences, her network, her relationships, and her access to ideas and opportunities.

How to be trusted

  • Show trust in others. That doesn’t mean being gullible or naive, but it does mean making sure you are not suspicious of others without cause. To be trusted you must communicate clearly, regularly, and honestly with co-workers, bosses, and clients. If there’s a problem, let the right people know.
  • Make sure people can come to you and let you know if there’s a problem. If you always react with rage or hatred, people are going to avoid telling you bad news. That doesn’t help solve problems. Instead, thank people for pointing out the problem, and then work as a team on a solution. You will gain in the long run by stopping issues before they get out of hand and by creating an atmosphere of trust. These open-communication rules should be stated upfront and in writing and reviewed often.
  • Don’t over-promise and then under deliver—but always deliver on time and fulfill expectations. It’s much better to give yourself a longer deadline and then bring the project in on time and in good shape, then promise big and come up short. If problems come up that affect your deadline, tell the person right away, set a new and realistic due date, then meet it.
  • If you mess up, take responsibility and move on. If someone else messes up, forgive him and move on.
  • Become familiar with workplace rules and regulations, and don’t violate them.
  • Do not indulge in gossip and negative talk. If you’re cornered by someone who is gossiping or ranting, you can:
    • Walk away
    • Say you’re withholding judgment until you have more facts
    • Find something positive to add to the conversation
    • State a different opinion

If you’re a manager

  • Give people responsibility and then don’t hover. Let them make some key decisions.
  • Back your workers up if there’s a problem, only if they have earned that level of trust.
  • Don’t spy on staff and divert energy trying to catch them taking a longer lunch, coming in late, or wasting time. If it gets out of hand, then you can deal with it. The trust you build by giving people some flexibility and allowing for human weaknesses will benefit the company more than if you start acting like a paranoid Big Brother.
  • Make sure office policies are fair and apply to low-level and senior staff alike.
By Amy Fries

Summary

Trust means:

  • Doing what you say you’re going to do
  • Communicating openly
  • Creating a positive environment

Trust is so key to a properly functioning workplace that it can best be illustrated by picturing what happens when trust is absent.

What lack of trust can do

When co-workers don’t trust each other, problems are not communicated. That means issues small and large go unaddressed, and the bottom line is hurt by missed deadlines, mangled projects, angry clients, and staff turnover.

When trust is not there, people start acting out of fear and defensiveness. They start guarding their turf and not sharing the knowledge needed to get the job done. People become more interested in making themselves or their department look good—and they stop focusing on company goals.

Without trust, suspicion, anger, hidden agendas, manipulation, and hurt feelings bloom.

Lack of trust also puts a curb on initiative and innovation. People become afraid to express ideas and take measured risks—the ingredients for growth.

What does “trust” in the workplace mean?

“Trust” can mean a number of things to different people. For many, it means that you can count on people to:

  • Do what they say they’re going to do
  • Communicate problems and issues as needed
  • Fulfill promises and contracts
  • Keep private what needs to be kept private
  • Be honest
  • Not lie
  • Make a positive environment in which all can be effective, responsible, and innovative

People have to earn trust, and even then trust is a calculated risk. But at the same time, it’s important to risk trust rather than be the type of person who distrusts everyone and everything. The latter person is building walls that will limit her experiences, her network, her relationships, and her access to ideas and opportunities.

How to be trusted

  • Show trust in others. That doesn’t mean being gullible or naive, but it does mean making sure you are not suspicious of others without cause. To be trusted you must communicate clearly, regularly, and honestly with co-workers, bosses, and clients. If there’s a problem, let the right people know.
  • Make sure people can come to you and let you know if there’s a problem. If you always react with rage or hatred, people are going to avoid telling you bad news. That doesn’t help solve problems. Instead, thank people for pointing out the problem, and then work as a team on a solution. You will gain in the long run by stopping issues before they get out of hand and by creating an atmosphere of trust. These open-communication rules should be stated upfront and in writing and reviewed often.
  • Don’t over-promise and then under deliver—but always deliver on time and fulfill expectations. It’s much better to give yourself a longer deadline and then bring the project in on time and in good shape, then promise big and come up short. If problems come up that affect your deadline, tell the person right away, set a new and realistic due date, then meet it.
  • If you mess up, take responsibility and move on. If someone else messes up, forgive him and move on.
  • Become familiar with workplace rules and regulations, and don’t violate them.
  • Do not indulge in gossip and negative talk. If you’re cornered by someone who is gossiping or ranting, you can:
    • Walk away
    • Say you’re withholding judgment until you have more facts
    • Find something positive to add to the conversation
    • State a different opinion

If you’re a manager

  • Give people responsibility and then don’t hover. Let them make some key decisions.
  • Back your workers up if there’s a problem, only if they have earned that level of trust.
  • Don’t spy on staff and divert energy trying to catch them taking a longer lunch, coming in late, or wasting time. If it gets out of hand, then you can deal with it. The trust you build by giving people some flexibility and allowing for human weaknesses will benefit the company more than if you start acting like a paranoid Big Brother.
  • Make sure office policies are fair and apply to low-level and senior staff alike.
By Amy Fries

The information provided on the Achieve Solutions site, including, but not limited to, articles, assessments, and other general information, is for informational purposes only and should not be treated as medical, health care, psychiatric, psychological, or behavioral health care advice. Nothing contained on the Achieve Solutions site is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or as a substitute for consultation with a qualified health care professional. Please direct questions regarding the operation of the Achieve Solutions site to Web Feedback. If you have concerns about your health, please contact your health care provider.  ©2019 Beacon Health Options, Inc.

 

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