Trust is a fundamental element in both personal and professional relationships. In the workplace, trust fosters healthy dynamics, driving collaboration and achieving success. When there is skepticism, teamwork falters, productivity dwindles, and the overall work environment becomes strained.
Building trust among employees cultivates a thriving workplace. In this article, we will explore the significance of trust in the workplace and provide practical steps to create and nurture confidence within your team.
Understanding Trust in the Workplace
Trust is the firm belief in other people’s reliability, integrity, and competence. It’s built upon key elements such as dependability, communication, transparency, and credibility.
When trust exists among coworkers, it creates a safe and supportive environment where individuals feel comfortable taking risks, expressing ideas, and collaborating effectively. On the contrary, if people don’t trust their leaders, they’re more likely to walk out.¹
Benefits of Building Trust
Building trust yields numerous benefits for individuals and teams alike. Here are some of the things it can do for your team.
1. Improves work relationships.
When trust is present, coworkers develop stronger bonds and are more likely to support and rely on each other. This creates a harmonious and productive work environment where everyone feels valued and supported.
2. Enhances productivity and performance.
When individuals trust one another, they’re more inclined to share ideas, offer assistance, and work together towards common goals. This leads to enhanced productivity and performance as trust reduces friction and facilitates effective communication and problem-solving.
3. Creates a positive work culture.
A workplace built on trust cultivates a positive work culture. This results in higher job satisfaction, employee engagement, and overall well-being.
A study shows people working in high-trust companies experience 74 percent less stress, have 106 percent more energy at work, and 40 percent less burnout.²
The Roadmap to Workplace Trust
Let’s now explore the essential steps for creating trust. These steps provide practical guidance you can implement at all levels of your organization.
1. Get to know your team.
It all starts with getting to know your team on a personal level. Take the time to develop genuine connections with your employees. Show sincere interest in their lives and experiences. Celebrate their milestones and achievements together, whether it’s a birthday, work anniversary, or personal accomplishment.
Nurturing these relationships outside of work forms a strong sense of camaraderie, strengthening trust within the team. When individuals feel seen, heard, and valued, they’re more likely to trust their colleagues and collaborate effectively.
2. Build trust gradually.
Trust isn’t built overnight. It’s a gradual process that requires patience, consistency, and authenticity. It’s important to honor your commitments and follow through on your promises. When you say you will do something, make sure to deliver on your word, as it establishes a foundation of trust among your employees.
Be consistent and stay true to your values and principles to help establish credibility and reliability. Avoid gossiping or spreading rumors, as these actions can erode trust and damage relationships quickly.
3. Recognize the value of each team member.
Appreciating your employees’ contributions builds trust and creates a sense of inclusion and belonging. It’s vital to acknowledge your team members’ efforts, empower them by delegating tasks, seek their guidance, and offer support when needed.
Valuing the unique skills and perspectives each team member brings creates an environment where trust can thrive. Encouraging open and respectful communication allows everyone to feel heard and respected regardless of their position.
4. Establish effective communication with coworkers.
Encourage active listening, being fully present and engaged when others are speaking. Giving your undivided attention and showing genuine interest in what others say creates an atmosphere of mutual respect and understanding.
In addition, take note of nonverbal cues:
- Body language
- Facial expressions
- Maintaining eye contact
- Using welcoming gestures
- Displaying a friendly demeanor
This depicts you as a trustworthy leader, enhances trust-building, and creates reliability and rapport with your team.
5. Provide mentorship and support.
Mentoring newcomers or colleagues helps them navigate the workplace more effectively and establishes a strong foundation of trust. Sharing your knowledge, experiences, and insights contributes to their growth and development.
Another way of building trust is extending assistance to colleagues who may be struggling or are overwhelmed with their workload, showing commitment to their well-being and success.
6. Admit lack of knowledge and seek growth.
It’s essential to embrace a growth mindset and acknowledge you don’t have all the answers. Be open to learning from others, including your subordinates. When you demonstrate a willingness to learn by asking questions, you create an environment that values collaboration and knowledge-sharing.
Taking responsibility and admitting to a mistake shows integrity and authenticity, showing the team that you’re accountable. Don’t play the blame game and point fingers, as it will only encourage people to cover up their own mistakes.
7. Take responsibilities seriously.
The best way to lead is by example. Fulfilling obligations and commitments demonstrates reliability, accountability, and a strong work ethic. Show them that consistently delivering on one’s promises establishes them as trustworthy individuals who can be relied upon to get the job done.
But this goes beyond completing tasks—it’s about demonstrating dedication and a commitment to excellence, inspiring others to do the same. It helps them build more confidence in their abilities, preparing them to contribute to the organization’s collective success.
8. Value honesty and transparency.
It’s crucial to create a culture of openness where individuals can feel comfortable expressing their thoughts and concerns. This applies even when delivering tough news, such as reporting a problem or a missed deadline.
It instills confidence in your team, knowing you rely on them to provide accurate information and share their perspectives. This benefit goes both ways, as you can trust your employees will do the right thing even in difficult times.
9. Active participation in office activities.
You create an environment of inclusivity and respect when you offer suggestions and actively listen to others. Active participation also allows people to share their diverse perspectives and encourages open dialogue, leading to better decision-making and problem-solving.
When colleagues feel valued and heard, trust flourishes, and a sense of camaraderie develops. Actively participating in office activities shows your commitment to the team’s goals and builds confidence through collaboration, shared experiences, and mutual support.
10. Promote inclusivity.
This begins with actively seeking out and listening to different viewpoints. Embracing various perspectives opens you up to new ideas, innovative solutions, and a deeper understanding of your employees.
This enhances trust and leads to more robust collaboration and creativity. When everyone feels heard and respected, a culture of trust and cooperation naturally emerges, allowing for meaningful contributions from every team member.
BUILD YOUR IDEAL TEAM WITH FOCUS PEOPLE
Building trust in the workplace can create a healthier work environment that enhances collaboration, productivity, and employee satisfaction. If you’re looking for the right employees to match your workplace’s values, partner with Focus People.
We’ll help you create a trusting and productive work environment by hiring the right people. Contact us today to learn more!
- Harter, Jim, Ph.D. “Why Some Leaders Have Their Employees’ Trust, and Some Don’t.” Gallup, 13 Jun. 2019, https://www.gallup.com/workplace/258197/why-leaders-employees-trust-don.aspx.
- Zak, Paul, J. “The Neuroscience of Trust.” Harvard Business Review Magazine, Feb. 2017, https://hbr.org/2017/01/the-neuroscience-of-trust.