Trust in the Workplace: A Spicy Topic
There are two sides to this topic—you trusting someone and that person trusting you. Most experts agree, solid trust is the foundation of a healthy work environment. It can be built over years and permanently torn in a matter of seconds.
According to Google: Trust is a characteristic that builds respect and loyalty, as well as a supportive and safe work environment. Distrust increases tension and negative “on guard” behavior, which can erode the spirit of the team and ultimately productivity.
In my book, The Big Sister’s Guide to the World of Work: The Inside Rules Every Working Woman Must Know, Chapter 8 spells out my feeling in two words, No One. Poor Monica Lewinsky learned that the hard way. As a young intern, she yearned to be close to a senior level colleague who would watch her back, so to speak. She confided her actions and inner most feelings to the exact person she shouldn’t have. Monica would never have known not to because the person she confided in gave her an open door and asked the questions, which allowed Monica to admit she was having an affair with her married boss, the President of the United States. Many lives were ruined, as we know. I’m not judging Monica’s actions… I’m stating fact that, in the workplace, many people will do what’s best for them and not consider the consequences long term.
It’s a tough perspective to take. However, after my 30 + years, I still stick to this advice. You are your best Public Relations person bar none. Yes, you can employ a PR person, you can ask other people to speak up for you but your own words and actions that you and you only say and do each and every day you show up for work, are judged and then…repeated. One can’t control what other people say. At work it’s best to keep any negative information about yourself to yourself. All positive things you want to say, share. Share with a smile and back it up with facts. That way, only positive things can be repeated. If you can easily, with humor, self denigrate your personality, give it a whirl.
Here are the11 ways to create trust and how it can be blown to smithereens.
- Tell the Truth when asked. You can’t go wrong. What can go wrong is your branded a liar and your cooked.
- Don’t fib on your expenses, take someone’s yogurt or do a side deal with a supplier. You get caught, your toast and will be branded a thief.
- Be consistent. That means your mood, behavior, appearance and your work. You will be respected. Inconsistency = untrustworthiness.
- Look people in the eye when you speak to them, uncross your arms / legs and put your phone down. Don’t forget to smile. People trust others who are open and are present in a conversation. No smile, no promotion.
- Don’t gossip. Enough said. If someone is telling you something that shouldn’t be repeated, smile and excuse yourself. If your Tattle Tell gets caught, count on him to say he told YOU too!
- Think VERY carefully before you offer an unsolicited judgment. Karma is a bitch. Better talk to your family then share a potentially explosive point-of-view.
- Put the word ME aside and say WE.
- Nurture mutually beneficial relationships. It’s
- not a bad thing, it’s all good.
- Accept criticism gracefully. Hey, they might be right and if you change, you win even more.
- Silence is only a pause not an ending. Don’t interrupt.
- Stick to the issues and deliver facts when responding. Don’t turn a disagreement into some far flung B.S. issue that has nothing to do with the initial issue. If you don’t, you loose.
Office Culture and Politics Expert