Trust. The foundation of our relationships. You can say without it, there is no relationship. Even so, when there’s a lack of trust, there’s an unhealthy dynamic with the very people we call family and friends, including those we work with.

It’s such a powerful arm to relationships that in the workplace, a lack of trust can leave people feeling like the very act of expressing who they are or simply asking for what they need would mean being perceived as weak or fearful of losing their jobs. 

I’m sure I’ve left other thoughts out of this familiar feeling.

As an emotion, trust is a feeling of being truthful, honest, transparent and having faith in another person. No matter the act or relationship to that individual, it’s confidence and reliability in someone that allows us to feel safe and that we matter. Yes, even in the workplace.

In action at work, it’s anyone of these:

I know things are tough right now, thank you for sharing your concerns with me. Let me raise this to X and I’ll get back to you by Friday.” 

“I really appreciated your feedback on X. I’d like to discuss it with Y to get additional clarity; would you be ok with that?”

“I’ll be at that meeting at 11am, thanks for including me.”

“I need support on X and am short resources on my team. Would you be able to extend our deadline?”

Trust is built in moments and can be developed in any one of these examples and many others over time. It’s the reliability that we feel and the opportunity to show up, follow up and follow through when we say we will. Also called integrity. 

We often leave ourselves out of the equation when we think of Trust (with a capital T) yet this oh so powerful word begins with learning to trust ourselves so we can learn to identify what’s important as we determine how to trust others and demonstrating we are trustworthy.

Trusting our actions.

Trusting our intentions.

Trusting our thoughts.

Trusting the decisions and choices we make.

We’ve all experienced what a lack of trust in the workplace looks like and have witnessed it in the very leaders that many of us have been managed by. We hide what we really feel or want to say, tell white lies to make us look a certain way all in the name of saving face and ultimately because we don’t trust the person sitting across from us. 

When discussing how trust is built with a client of mine and his team, he proudly said he feels he gives his people space and time to be heard and assures them that what they share is safe and kept in confidence. 

He also reflected on his former leader who left their company at the start of the year and is night and day from his new leader. How so? Because he feels safe talking to her, learning from her and making a mistake. He went on to say, “I actually feel like I’m being guided vs. sharing something and being reprimanded for not knowing better.”

He said, “With my former leader, she would ask me a question and then shit all over my answer. It was like a set-up for her to tell me ‘my way’ was wrong. I was always so nervous to come to her with anything because I wouldn’t get the support and I didn’t trust her. I want to make sure my team doesn’t feel that way about me and they can trust that I’m there for them.”

It’s in the smallest of moments that trust is built and not an overnight achievement. Earning someone’s trust is not only the cornerstone of all your relationships but vital to the success of their longevity. Including those you lead.

Now I’d love to hear from you. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

In your working relationships, specifically, how did you determine when you could trust someone?

Is there anything that you would or wouldn’t do to earn someone’s trust?

With all my appreciation,

Lisa ?