“Trust is the glue of life. It is the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It is the foundational principle that holds all relationships.” – Stephen R. Covey
Healthy workplaces rely on many things to remain energetic, productive and, ultimately successful. Among these things are clear communication, agreed rules and codes of conduct, honesty, focus and willing, but perhaps the most important element is trust. Trust is the core to any relationships, and is just as important in your work life as it is in your personal life.
However, as you may be aware, trust is not guaranteed, and it does not come as standard on day one of a working relationship, trust must be both earnt and kept. Here are a few thoughts on how to best foster this most important of virtues in your workplace.
1. Trust Others
Trust goes both ways. In order for you to know you can trust somebody, sometimes you need to take a chance on them and just trust them anyway. Trusting until proven untrustworthy is a much more positive outlook than to mistrust at the outset.
What also happens when you choose to trust others is that they are more likely to trust you in return. Offering trust is a good way to start off a working relationship in a really positive and productive way.
2. Be Reliable
This might sound obvious, but this is very important, especially early on in a working relationship; be trustworthy! Simple things such as being appropriately dressed, always being on time, being proactive and offering to take on responsibility account for many of the micro-behaviours that makes us appear trustworthy to others. Of course, I would advise that you carry this behaviour on, but when building a foundation of trust these standards of reliability are extremely valuable.
3. Be Transparent
Be open, be honest, be transparent. Nothing breaks trust like the withholding of information. If you are a trustworthy person, then you will have nothing to hide, so ensure that you are offering information openly and routinely, without being asked. This helps you to be seen, and helps you to actually become, a conscious team player.
4. Pay Attention
Trust can also be gained when you really pay attention to your colleagues. Notice how they are on a daily basis, and pay particular attention to their body language. We don’t always speak up when we are feeling down, but our bodies give away a great deal. If you can notice these signals in your colleagues and check in on them in a discreet and conscious way, they will not only feel seen and looked after, but trust will also be shared.
5. Don’t Gossip
The workplace can sometimes be complicated and messy, especially when some feel that others are behaving incorrectly or not pulling their weight as they should. I am not advising that these things be ignored, but these situations should be treated with kindness and respect. Gossiping behind peoples backs fuels resentment and negative energy in a team, and is counterproductive.
If you have a professional issue with somebody, try your best to deal with it in a mindful way. Perhaps you could have a quiet word with the offender or report behaviour in whatever way is mandated by your place of work. Not only is gossip not very nice, it is also unwise to become known as a gossip if you are hoping to be trusted.
Trust is gained if others know what to expect from you. For this to happen you must remain consistent in your judgements and your behaviours. If colleagues feel that they can’t come to you with questions or issues for fear that you will react in an unpredictable way, you will not be seen as trustworthy.
7. Offer Praise When It’s Due
We all like to be seen. You may think it selfish to want praise, but it is, in fact, a normal part of being human and everyone deserves it. Praise and positive feedback builds confidence, positive attitudes and, of course, trust. Ensure that you praise your colleagues when it is due. Thanking someone for their help or broadcasting somebody’s professional achievements to the team make you look gracious and encourages others to strive for the same treatment.
By Chris Thomson
Functioning in the workplace is tricky, especially if you have a busy or stressful job. See here for some thoughts on how to boost your resilience at work… How to Boost your Workplace Resilience
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