New Year, new resolutions and new commitments. How much is distrust costing you or your company? Getting back to work after the New Year should involve taking time to assess, regroup, and refocus your efforts at work. This should also include rebuilding and enhancing trust. According to research findings at Wharton, “trust harmed by untrustworthy behavior can be effectively restored when individuals observed a consistent series of trustworthy actions.”
When at work, it is always the people we know who we trust the most. However, in today’s scattered workforce, you may be asked to lead teams of people that you may never meet in person; cross-functional teams, virtual teams, generationally diverse teams and geographically separated coworkers. How are you supposed to cultivate or even re-build trust with people you may never get to know? Trust building is a process. It requires the right actions and the right intent.
Trust at work is both emotional and logical. Emotionally, there is friendship, agreement and comfort. Logically, trust is based on predictable behavior. For example, when you hire someone to fill a position on your team, you tend to look for those with whom you have a rapport or a connection, in order words a trust. By surrounding yourself with people you trust, it becomes easier for you to predict what they will do.
You build trust at work by understanding the messages your actions communicate. To restore trust you need personal accountability grounded in consistent and trustworthy actions. Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do.” Ask yourself, do you micromanage your employees out of habit? Perhaps you are not too big on doling out praise. How often do you fail to pick up the phone to listen to or address a difficult problem with a challenging coworker, client or customer?
It’s not only what you do that can build or diminish trust at work; it’s also how you do it. These work habits communicate who you are. Your actions are a way for people to judge who you say you are and compared to who you really are and that is the essential ingredient for trust building- your actions and behaviors.
When it comes to workplace trust, there are always repercussions to your actions. There are things you can do at work, and things you should. Knowing the difference makes a difference. Ask yourself, if other people at work did the same thing you’re about to do, or made the same decision you’re about to make, would you be more, or less, inclined to give them your trust or perceive them as trustworthy?
When it comes to building or re-building trust, what you do is as memorable to others as what you don’t do. So, remember that the next time you are asking employees to stay late, with self-awareness you should decide to stay late too.
I invite you to share your experiences or thoughts, or comments. You can email or call me for more information on soft and interpersonal skills workshops that can transform employees.