COMPANY CULTURE / JUL. 17, 2014
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How Important is Trust in the Workplace?

Trust in the workplace is essential to the good running of the workplace. Unless you’re in a profession like politics where backstabbing is part of the game, you will see immense increases in productivity and efficiency. The idea of the lone worker is steadily being confined to history. Without trust, many businesses couldn’t function.

One of the reasons why trust is so important is the increasing proliferation of collaboration technology. Collaboration technology enables businesses across the world to communicate and work together like never before. It removes the need for national and international travel, and costs a fraction of the price of a real-life meeting.

In an increasingly globalised economy, collaboration through new technology and in person is essential to success.

Let’s delve further into the concept of trust and how to promote it.

Why Trust is so Important

First of all, teams that trust each other outperform those that don’t. This has been highlighted in study after study. In one particular study called Building Trust 2013: Workforce Trends Defining High Performance, there wasn’t a single case where teams that didn’t trust each other prospered.

The study also highlighted how essential good leadership was. The best performing teams always had leaders that reflected the business’s values.

Engagement is another by-product of a strong culture of trustworthiness. People who don’t trust each other are far less likely to speak about the most important matters. They’re more worried about their positions than the actual success of the project.

When a group of employees trust each other, they all know they’re working towards the same goal. They’re focused on the project not on themselves.

The Core Principles of Building Trust

We all know what trust is, and we all know when someone genuinely trusts us. It’s not something you can build overnight. In some cases, it can take months to forge such bonds. Psychology Today highlights three core principles in the building of trust. Let’s take a look at them:

  1.  Give trust. This is simple because it plays upon the principle of acting first. At first, people are unsure who they can trust. It’s easier to reciprocate than to be the first than to take action.
  2. Proper communication. Transparency comes with communicating regularly and in detail. This is a matter of passing on information when it becomes available. Make everybody feel part of the team.
  3. Being genuine. There’s nothing complicated about being genuine. If there are mistakes, admit them. Stay away from things like saving face and keeping up some sort of corporate façade. Be open and honest. Be you.

Building Trust Online

With the increase in new technology, it’s no surprise to see how building trust has become a real issue. It’s difficult enough to do it in person, but doing it online adds a whole other level of complexity. The main issue is how people interpret nonverbal cues. You’re less able to study body language over a webcam feed, for example.

This is where the right leadership really comes into its own. Leaders need to be trained in communicating with team members in an online capacity. When you may never meet the other party in person, it’s important to build trust and eliminate many of the ‘in person’ cues that may become misunderstood when transferred online.

We’ve established from the beginning building trust in the workplace is crucial to success. You have to ensure that your team fully trusts each other. Every study says it leads to better productivity and an enhanced ability to collaborate.

To build trust, you need to be genuine, communicate well, and give trust before you can receive it. But remember, it takes time.

 

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