4 Tips to Build Trust in the Workplace

Children's letter blocks spelling TRUSTTrust, it’s the glue that keeps us together.  It creates transparency, thriving teams, and a solid foundation in relationships. Lack of trust, breeds’ resentment, creates fear and keeps us apart.

A recent story in USA Today cited that Americans are suspicious of each other in their everyday encounters.   Only one-third of Americans say most people can be trusted – down from half who felt that way in 1972, when the General Social Survey first asked the question.  Forty-four years later, a record high of nearly two-thirds say “you can’t be too careful” in dealing with people. This same sentiment can be carried over into the workplace, where employees want their leaders to be more trustworthy and transparent.

Below are four tips to build trust within the workplace:

1. Be Honest. Tell the truth. Even small lies and twisted truths are still lies.  Share honest information, even if it’s to your disadvantage.   Don’t steal — on expense reports, from the supply cabinet or your colleagues.

2. Use Good Judgment. Think twice before sharing a blunt, unsolicited judgment. Extreme honesty may hurt the recipient, ironically destroying trust and the safe environment.  Don’t expect apologies to erase your wrongdoings. Apologies might earn a forgive, but perhaps not a forget.  Avoid “just between us” secret conversations unless necessary to the benefit of the company.

3. Be Consistent. Show up — every day and on time — and stay at least the required hours.  Do the work; meet or exceed the job description and company standards. Do what you say you will do. Fulfill your promises.

4. Have a Mutually Beneficial Attitude. Avoid me, me, me. Genuinely care about others and promote we, we, we.  Nurture mutually beneficial relationships with open communications.  Willingly accept information and constructive critique.

For everyone, but especially business people, it’s important to remember that stronger relationships make for stronger brains, and stronger businesses as a result. Trust is a fundamental cornerstone of this process. If you have questions about how to give and receive trust, contact me for a complimentary discovery session.  I work with executives, groups, and individuals to help them develop this critical life skill to enhance their lives.

If you have a question that you would like to have answered in my monthly #AskGretchen column, please feel free to submit it. I respond to questions on business, relationships, finances, careers, and love. All topics are welcome. This a free an anonymous service.

Read my recent interview with The Economist, “Bouncing Back from Burnout.”


**Sources, Pat Mayfield, President of Pay Mayfield Consulting LLC, USA Today, Connie Cass with the Associated Press.

Love insights in your inbox? Get them direct from Gretchen’s desk.