Trust at Work: What Trust Can Do for the Workplace

Phil True
July 5, 2017


There’s nothing quite like a good Trust Fall to establish discomfort and raise insecurities in a team.  (Not familiar with the Trust Fall?  There are some YouTube videos or Google images that could catch you up.)  Though often associated with team building, Trust Falls have become an outdated and rarely used element for building trust and establishing valuable comradery in a team.

Though the element itself is outdated, trust in the workplace is as critical as it has ever been.  A workforce with trust at its foundation has higher morale and increased productivity.  Trust is a multi-faceted quality: understanding how trust is built and maintained is beneficial for building a thriving workforce.

                                                                             What does Trust look like in the workplace?

1201A trusting workforce starts with the individual.  Trust must be built by the whole team: each team member needs to ask himself, “Am I trustworthy?” When every team member does their part to build and foster trust in the workplace, the atmosphere of the entire office is affected.

Trustworthy does not mean infallible: mistakes are a natural part of life and it’s reasonable to expect that coworkers or managers will in one way or another come up short of perfection.  A trustworthy workforce is one that can be relied on to consistently put their best efforts into providing a good product or service to customers and coworkers.

5 Tips for Trust

There are endless examples of building or breaking trust in the office.  Let these five tips be a spring board for nurturing trust.

– Honor your commitments.  By word and by action, seek to be truthful and fulfill duties to the best of your ability.

– Lead by example.  Management and leadership are not synonymous.  Management is a title of a person who controls the order of business.  Leadership is a series of actions that encourages, educates, and directs.  Leadership must be earned by providing an example worth following.

– Promote innovation.  With a foundation of trust, individuals feel comfortable sharing ideas and are passionate about seeing improvement.  Being comfortable with change through innovation is a stepping stone to a better product or service.

– Take responsibility.  Be aware of your actions and how they affect others.  Take responsibility for mistakes.  Be responsible and reliable for others.

– Communicate clearly and calmly.  Trust can be easily broken when we move quickly to frustration with coworkers.  Be aware of tone and body language as a part of communication and seek to be positive and transparent.

The Dynamic of Trust

Developing or maintaining trust in the workplace involves many factors.  Working towards this goal involves communication, responsibility, and an encouraging atmosphere for staff.  Below are some excellent resources to supplement the conversation on trust in the workplace, or you can check out a teambuilding event to bolster trust in your team.

The Speed of Trust.  Stephen Covey

Change the Culture, Change the Game.  Roger Connors and Tom Smith.