Workplace Trust, What Is It & How to Get It

It’s been almost two months since I’ve written a piece here as I’ve been focused on developing deep content for, and now delivering my newly launched  Communication Power for Leaders group coaching program.

I under estimated how much time and energy it was going to take.

My apologies for leaving you over the least 7 weeks or so, and want you to know what I’m learning in the work I’ve been doing will be to your benefit.

One of those things is the work I’ve been doing to help the organizational leaders in the Communication Power for Leaders learn how by applying “The 3 Levels of High-Performance Leadership Communication” it can help build high-levels of trust between individuals and teams.

When the subject of “trust’ comes up, I get all sorts of questions about what it is and how to know if you have it and in what contexts.

Trust is a nebulous concept, isn’t it?

One thing I know is that the one thing that influences trust in the workplace more than any other is the level and quality of leadership and workplace communication.

When we think we have it someone’s behavior causes us to question it.

When we think we don’t have it, someone’s behavior surprises us.

For that reason I’ve tried to quantify it for my audiences and my clients.

Trust can be defined in many ways depending on the situation and context.

For workplace trust, I’ve defined it this way:
“The absolute belief that when communicating with someone, both sides have the other’s best interest in mind and the best interest of the team/organization they serve, and that the other individual will follow through to do what they say they are going to do.”

Clients and seminar attendees also often ask how they can assess the level of trust with those in their sphere of influence.

To answer those concerns I’ve identified three workplace behavior and performance contexts that must be taken into account when assessing one’s level of trust:

  • Relationship – do you have the same values, beliefs, commitment to a common vision and what specifically within those components of your relationship are “musts” and deal breakers, what are the “shoulds” you can live with if not in sync, where can you “agree to disagree” to work together at the highest level.
  • Competency – can the person effectively fulfill their role at the level necessary to be successful. There may be people you have a great relationship with but you may not trust them in their competency to do the job (for example, I have a high-trust relationship with my wife and trust her with my life but if I needed heart surgery she does not have the competency in that context that I would trust her to do the job).
  • Follow Through – will the person, based on past experience, do what they say they’re going to do and follow through on their commitments in the time they commit to do it. Do they stay in touch and communicate proactively along the way keeping you engaged and in the loop without you having to chase them for updates.

That’s one powerful way to assess trust in your workplace and if it’s not at the level it needs to be, you need look no further than the quality of communication by the leaders in your workplace and the tone they set for communication across their work environments.

Best Regards,