In the past, people tended to trust each other more readily. However, things are vastly different now. Maybe because people are getting ‘cleverer’, wary of betrayals, and better aware of scams, that trust does not come easy anymore. That said, trust is essential to ensuring the success of anything.
An organization requires a seamless interlocking chain of working together to achieve positive results. Workers rely on one another to make things happen, and trust is the oil that makes the cog wheels run smoothly to progress forward.
Trust reflects on you and your character. A high level of trust produces a continuous whirlpool of positivity among employees. People are happier as they feel assured, safe, and protected, leading to a more productive workplace with above-and-beyond results.
Why Trust Matters in the Workplace?
Trust is an emotional and psychological human aspect that signals a sense of security and confidence when dealing with someone; you can confidently rely on that someone. Of course, that 'someone' must have built and earned high credibility over time.
Trust is a crucial aspect that determines our interactions. Building trust in the workplace is critical if you want success. Your end goal is to make someone feel confident relying on you, comfortable working with you, and assured in your abilities and intentions. Hence, if everyone shares this same end goal, the result will be a trustful workplace culture built on good values, job satisfaction, tight-knit workplace relationships, psychological safety, and mutual respect.
Trusting and strong teamwork reduces turnover rates. Employees are more motivated and will go the extra distance for the company. In the end, EVERYONE benefits, and the business flourishes.
6 Tips for Building Trust in the Workplace
It’s time to take actionable steps to build trust in your workplace. You cannot expect a trusted workplace to fall on your lap when you wake up the following day. Here are some tips to help you build trust in the workplace:
1. Communicate Effectively and Listen More
Often people lose trust in one another due to a misunderstanding caused by miscommunication. Hence, learn to communicate effectively with your colleagues, through email or in person. It is easy to create miscommunication via email, especially since there’s no accompanying body language. As such, practice standard email etiquette to ensure professional and well-written emails that are easy to understand.
Focus on your tone and body language in face-to-face conversations; these impact how your colleagues interpret and react to your words. Always communicate tactfully in ways that leave no room for misinterpretation. Leave no questions in your mind unanswered. Ask questions to clarify to ensure everyone is on the same page.
Actively listening and speaking less is a motto that is proven effective. Everyone is different and will have various perspectives. Hence, genuinely listen, and don’t brush them aside. Try to see from their angle, and not be a stickler for yours only. That said, remote teams face more challenges when communicating effectively with one another. Some tools can help with this for a tighter collaboration to build trust.
2. Be Appreciative and Show It
Gratitude goes a long way. A simple ‘thank you' suffices as long as you mean it. Showing appreciation and recognizing the values of your coworkers have a positive effect on them. They will enjoy better emotional security and are more willing to trust one another. Employees will enjoy a sense of community and belonging.
Frequent recognition and acknowledgment of each contribution build a more positive work environment. Be prompt and genuine in your praises but do not dish them out like they’re nothing; your intentions become diluted and meaningless.
Also, implement an appropriate praise and rewards system to motivate and incentivize your team to aim for greater heights. Ensure a well-defined praise and rewards system that gives equal opportunities to everyone to maintain fairness. The key is to encourage trust among one another.
3. Genuinely Care and Be Helpful
Socializing and getting to know your teammates shows that you’re interested in them. Of course, you don’t do it with a heavy heart. You genuinely want to know them because you want to. Knowing one another helps everyone get along and work better together. A simple gesture such as remembering the names shows that you care.
And if you genuinely care, you would be concerned if your colleague cannot keep up with work. You gladly offer to help, especially if you have finished yours. For example, your colleague is having difficulty troubleshooting a persistent issue. Maybe you introduce specific tools to help.
Going the extra mile extends to common courtesy, like offering to hold the door for someone or helping to carry heavy books. A kind person comes across as trustworthy. People will view you as helpful and kind with no hidden agenda. Instead, they see you as a genuinely good person.
4. Use a Feedback-Based Approach
Gaining feedback is highly valuable in any organization because the employees are at the ground level, experiencing things that the top management may not know and understand. Before implementing a change in a current system or introducing something new, it is always good to invite feedback from the floor.
When you do so, it shows that the top management genuinely cares and respects what the staff thinks and feels. Running a dictatorial ship does not work nowadays. People are more aware of their rights. If they are unhappy or unsatisfied with anything, they will leave, and the turnover rate will increase; this is not good for the business.
Hence, establish a full-fledged feedback platform that allows two-way communication between employees and leaders. Doing so sets a clear expectation of the communication method, and employees will not feel blindsided and uncared for. Instead, everyone feels empowered because they feel their voice matters.
This feedback system can be continuous for employees to provide feedback anytime they want. An always-on, employee-driven feedback channel can help to provide insightful responses to act upon. Respond to all feedback and always follow through on any agreed action plan to completion. Then only the employees believe the feedback channel works - a grave step to building trust and respect.
5. Set a Good Example
Lead by example. Do unto others as you would have others do to yourself. These mottos ring loudly in our everyday lives. As such, be honest and truthful in your working relationships. Honesty encourages transparency. People will know that you don’t have hidden agendas and will bring down their defenses to trust you.
Follow through and honor your promises. Doing so builds credibility. People know that you are not about empty promises. Hence, be consistent and practice what you preach. If you promise to deliver within a timeframe, ensure you do, but if you can’t, be upfront about it and set the right expectations. Over-promising and under-delivering are the ingredients to killing trust.
The same applies to your emotional state. Maintain a consistent state of mind and mood always. Then people will view you as a calm and collected person; they trust you more. For example, even when most of your team’s tasks suddenly turn high priority, you still maintain a composed stature and work towards sorting things out to make it work. People will be impressed and trust you more.
Also, if you made a mistake, admit it and be upfront about it. Don’t splash around with excuses. Admitting a mistake humanizes you and makes you more trustworthy. Also, it shows that you are taking responsibility for what happened and willing to work through it to rectify the wrongs; this is integrity that leads to trust. Working with integrity means embracing the work values and behaving honorably while treating everyone with respect.
6. Empower the Team
Trust doesn’t come overnight; it takes time to build trust. However, you can take that leap of faith to show your coworkers that you trust them first. Empower them to make certain decisions and reasonably give added responsibilities to show that you trust them. Do not adopt a look-over-the-shoulder approach. Nobody likes to be micromanaged.
Your coworkers need to feel trusted enough to work with minimal supervision. Meddling and being overly fussy turn them off. However, being supportive without hovering shows that you trust them to act independently, but they can rely on you if they need help. Showing that you view them as trustworthy is key to getting them to reciprocate.
However, empowering the team to make the right decisions requires them to have the appropriate knowledge. For example, if the project relies heavily on security matters, everyone should attend security awareness training to know what needs to be done.
Start Building Trust in the Workplace
Building and strengthening trust helps in all relationships. Bear in mind that it takes time and effort to trust one another. However, you must invest in building trust to progress in life, which applies to your workplace too.
Remember, it's all about embracing the positive values in life with a long-term approach in mind. It can be easy if you follow through with the above. You’ll soon be on your way to being viewed as a trustworthy person.