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How to Build Trust in the Workplace

Trust is crucial at work, not only for positive and collaborative teams, but also for your own job happiness.

‘Trustworthy’ is one of the highest rated desirable attributes that employers cite when looking for potential employees – and it’s easy to see why.

Having a workplace filled with people that the management can trust is one of the most important elements for ensuring a productive, harmonious and efficient work environment. Trust among co-workers is also essential for productive collaboration and a healthy team environment.

I think we can all agree, when we trust those we’re spending our work days with, we feel infinitely more satisfied and secure in the work we do. We’re also much more likely to be supportive and offer help, as well as seek help when we need it.
With that in mind, what are some of the strategies that everyone – not just management – can utilize to build trust among their teams and organisation?

Here are five tactics that anyone, whether entry level or top management, start-up or large corporation, can action to help build trust in their work environment:

1. Maintain Your Integrity
Integrity refers to how you follow through on the things you say you’ll do, and your honesty – even in times of stress. Everyone can practice integrity and it’s crucial in the workplace.

Whether you’re letting your colleague know you’re going to be a day late on an important deadline or making sure your colleagues get credit for the work they do, integrity is really important for helping to build trust and letting people know you are a trustworthy individual.

2. Communicate
Communication is so important among all work teams. Responding to emails or requests in a timely manner, managing expectations, praising colleagues on a job well done, or speaking up when needed if a job isn’t quite right (diplomatically of course!): all of this feeds into building integrity and trust.

For management, communication is even more important. Making sure that the team are aware of business developments, openly talking about changes, and communicating the company values and vision all help to highlight that you trust them and will in turn, ensure that they reciprocate that trust in their commitment to their work.

3. Everyone is Equal
Making sure that your company is focused on a culture of inclusion and equality goes hand in hand with building trust. This is best demonstrated when everyone – including senior management – treat everyone as an equal. This means everyone – from the work experience student to the part time administrator, the cleaner to the CEO. An environment of respect, equality and inclusion is a great starting point for building trust across your teams and organisation as a whole. It’s something every single person can do.

4. There is No ‘I’ in Team
As outlined above, when there’s a strong level of trust in a team, everyone feels more secure to work collaboratively, share goals, projects and workloads and pitch in to work through challenges when really needed.

This starts with every individual acknowledging that they are part of a bigger team and having awareness around their role within that. This in turn is generated by management providing strong oversights on who is responsible for what, when and how. This way everyone knows where to start and who to turn to when they do need help.

5. Listen to Your Instincts
We all have strong moral compasses (well, hopefully you do!) and we know essentially what is wrong and what is right – especially in the workplace.

You will know that taking credit for someone else’s work or idea is wrong – and is the quickest way to breed mistrust among your team. Likewise, we know its right to acknowledge a job well done and to thank those who support us when we we’re struggling.

Listening to – and following – your instincts about what is wrong and right in the workplace will quickly earn you respect from your colleagues and management, and help to establish you as someone who is inherently trustworthy.

And the quickest way to breakdown trust?
Essentially by doing the opposite of the above! Withholding information, following an individualistic career path in a team environment, telling lies or not following through on the things you say you’ll do – all of this will very quickly set you apart as someone who can’t be trusted.

That’s a very lonely path to walk down. Individuals who are able to demonstrate strong ethics and trustworthiness are far more likely to have a long and successful career. You’ll probably find that those are also the people who seem to be able to work their way up the career ladder pretty quickly.

Keep hold of your moral compass in the workplace. The environment of trust that you would want to work in starts with you.

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