How important is trust in the workplace?

In an age of health and economic uncertainty, leaders are seeking ways to become more agile, adaptable and innovative. Yet in doing so, some overlook a key component of success—employee trust. When you don’t have trust, or do not trust sufficiently, it can be a costly mistake in terms of time, money and reputation. Trust, as we know, goes both ways: it is the core of all good working relationships. Before we delve deeper, let us try to understand the components of trust.

According to an article by Stephen M. R. Covey, “Trust is confidence born of two dimensions: Character and Competence. Character includes your integrity, motive, and intent with people while competence includes your capabilities, skills, results, and track record.” Traditionally speaking we usually refer to our character when it comes to trust. However, when speaking about trust in the workplace and quite rightly stated by Mr. Convey, “You might think a person is sincere, even honest, but you won't trust that person fully if he or she doesn't get results. And the opposite is true. A person might have great skills and talents and a good track record, but if he or she is not honest, you're not going to trust that person either.”

To supplement the above dimensions of trust, Dennis and Michelle Reina added another component of trust, ‘Trust of Communication’. According to them, trust of communication is the willingness (not confidential information) with others, the channel you choose to communicate a concern and the art of giving and receiving constructive feedback is what defines trust of communication.

Today, more than ever, it’s increasingly essential to have trust in the workplace; it is an asset that breaks down silos and drives collaboration, teamwork, engagement, and the process of change. When trust is present, I believe that people do their best work, together, and efficiently - you're more likely to have a higher level of confidence and support. Colleagues will take risks, communicate openly, exhibit camaraderie and align around a common purpose.

As leaders, it is our job to inspire trust. We must first understand that trust is complex and means different things to different people. My personal view is that you must be the trust you want to see in the organization. To build a culture of trust, you need to lead from the front. It also helps when you encourage others and make them aware when they exemplify trust. While there isn’t a handbook to guide structured approaches, cultivating an environment of trust is worth the investment. Ultimately, it is up to us to find it within ourselves and create the environment for people and business to flourish.

Go to top