Establishing trust between colleagues creates a valuable currency in the workplace, and is a key aspect of relationship building with our peers.
Trust allows us to open up to our coworkers, and enjoy a secure foundation from which we can explore new ideas, strategies and opportunities. Conversely, the breaking of trust creates an unstable dynamic in the office, and cooperation and collaboration can be next to impossible.
Upon first meeting, we begin the delicate dance of learning about another person. Forming an immediate impression, and adapting to new information, we weigh interactions and build a relationship that ideally grows stronger as our trust deepens. We test boundaries, gauge reactions, adjust dynamics and test boundaries again; topics, ideals, theories, our senses of humour and perhaps even a few personal stories are shared and reactions are measured.
Sometimes, it helps to start with an implicit trust of our coworkers. As Ernest Hemingway said, “The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.” Trust that the person on the other end of the conference room table wants to work with you, and wants to genuinely like you. Trust that they want your cooperation to go smoothly, and that their goal is a successful outcome.
By starting off with this most basic assumption, both of you approach a common goal by giving each other the benefit of the doubt and the security to proceed with the support of the other.
Building others’ trust in you also comes with establishing dependability and reliability amongst your colleagues. Completing tasks on time, and communicating pitfalls, challenges and changed timelines well in advance to all involved parties develops trust. Simply, do what you say you are going to do, and when you can’t accomplish a goal, tell people.
Keeping private information confidential can also build trust. Employees share a variety of personal issues with their colleagues at work: challenges with their children, relationship troubles, financial woes and personal stories, which are told in extreme confidence. By keeping these confidences, you are sending a message to your peers that you appreciate being confided in, and are willing to keep these conversations off the gossip circuit.
One of the hardest parts of building trust in the workplace can be learning to trust yourself. While we want to be admired and appreciated, sometimes establishing trust means rocking the boat and confronting an issue; choosing integrity over image, despite fear of confrontation. Many of us have been in a workplace situation where the best answer wasn’t the easiest, and we hoped one brave soul would speak up for all of us. recognise opportunities to be that person. By going out on a limb on behalf of your colleagues, you continue to build their trust in you.
Trust, is a the key component that allows each of us to give a little bit more – knowing that there is a soft place to land, a compassionate ear to listen, or at least someone on the receiving end of the conversation who tries to understand us before judging.
When trust exists in the workplace, we have the confidence to share groundbreaking ideas, challenge the status quo and shift the paradigm. We can explore uncharted territories and scary, but game-changing opportunities. We can connect with clients and peers on a deeper level and discuss concepts & experiences that may have previously gone unmentioned. We not only work, but we thrive, being accepted and appreciated for the innovative concepts that we are contributing.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.