How many of these sound familiar?
- You lack faith in the skill levels of your colleague(s) and/or you fear they lack faith in yours.
- In your workplace information is hoarded and not openly shared.
- You often feel let down because people don’t keep their word.
- Giving and sharing is a one-way street and you’re doing the bulk of it.
- Your mission, vision and values are misaligned with your team members and/or your organization.
- You don’t feel like your colleagues have your best interests at heart.
- The overall behavior in your work place is inconsistent and unpredictable
- You’re fearful your team members don’t have your back, so as a result for example, you cover yourself with excessively ccing everyone on emails to cover yourself.
- You feel excluded professionally and/or socially, as there are cliques and silos in your organization.
- You can’t relate to people at work because they don’t seem genuine.
These are all examples of 10 criteria for trust in the workplace, which I’ll say more about in a minute.
If you can relate to a few chances are trust may be lacking in your workplace.
I do team buildings for a wide variety of clients and to help customize the experience I give staff a survey ahead of time that gathers where they and their team are at.
One of the questions I ask in the survey is to what degree the team trusts each other (this is one indicator of engagement).
Here’s a summary of what teams have said about their level of trust in the workplace.
I’ve been thinking about trust a lot lately because recently I took part as a speaker on a learning and development panel here in Nairobi, Kenya.
Part of the day included a workshop on the importance of trust (at individual, organization, sector and world levels) by Nuru Ayiemba, from Path Kenya.
Her research was based on Building Trust in Diverse Teams; the toolkit for emergency response, Emergency Capacity Building project, 2007 (which you can download a copy for free from World Vision).
The toolkit and Nuru’s presentation outlined 10 criteria for building trust. Each one is laid out below, with the criteria and a description.
Spoiler alert: I took each of the ten criteria and created the scenarios above. So feel free to match the number above to the criteria below.
- Well-being: trust arising from the feeling that I have nothing to fear from other members of the team
- Competence; trust based on a perception that team members are competent and so will not let me down
- Openness with information; trust based on the observation that other team members share information important to the team proactively and clearly
- Integrity: trust based on the observation that other team members maintain promises, our team-oriented, and behave towards me in accordance with the moral code
- Reciprocity: trust based on the observation that other team members are trusting and cooperative towards me
- Compatibility, just based on background, values, approaches, interest, and objectives Held in common
- Good Will: trust based on the belief that other team members are concerned about my overall welfare
- Predictability: trust based on the observation that the behavior of team members is consistent over time and in different contacts
- Inclusion: trust based on the observation that other team members actively include me in their social and work activities
- Accessibility: trust based on the observation that other team members share their true feelings and I can relate to them on a personal level
Now that your noggin is full of criteria for trust, you may be asking why I’m focusing on trust to begin with. In my experience working with teams all over the world, trust is a key ingredient to healthy individuals, teams and organizations.
In fact here are 10 reasons why it’s critical you build trust in your workplace:
- It saves time: when people aren’t wasting time covering themselves because they’re fearful due to lack of trust, oodles of time is saved.
- Increased productivity: when people trust each other they can get on with the work they’re meant to be doing.
- Trust allows people to bring their full selves, all of their gifts and talents to the table.
- When people can bring their whole selves to the table then they’re more likely to speak up with ideas, objections, alternate opinions etc.
- Healthier individuals and workplaces; lack of trust gnaws away at our confidence and self-esteem, so conversely, when trust is present everyone’s healthier for it.
- A trusting workplace means less unproductive conflict and when there is conflict, people who trust each other can work it out more effectively and faster.
- Trust enables better overall communication.
- Innovation increases because all voices are heard and valued.
- Trust allows people to focus on what’s important and that leads to…
- A trusting workplace is a more efficient
How many resonate with you?
Please let me know in the comment section below. And, as always, feel free to share on social (using the share buttons below) and see what your community thinks.
By matching issues you may be facing in the workplace from the first list of 10, to the 10 criteria for trust above plus the 10 reasons why building trust in the workplace is critical, you’re now well on your way to unlocking higher levels of trust. Way to go, I’m cheering you on, you trust leader you.
Ronnie Scott says
As I expect most people in the world can relate to your entire criteria, we have experience all of them throughout our job life, friends life and family life since our first job.
Some of it is definitely peer pressure/ pack mentality, inexperience and lack of education but much appears to be very low emotional I.Q.s from upbringing, apathy, selfishness, low self-esteem or self-preservation. I’m sure you can definitely educate the work environment and get that trust level and team spirit up. However, it’s tough to change the individuals if fear and immaturity guides their lives. You definitely have to surround yourself with the right people or you may not have the time, resources and energy to put that much work into the wrong players. We’ve tried really great communication, accountability, building trust, forgiveness, acceptance, education, love, empathy, systems and more but some patterns of behaviour often require major personal counselling or severing the work relationship permanently.
This relates to your criteria of people not having the same vision, mission, values but often it’s even deeper than that.Building trust and communication will go a long way as in any healthy relationship but some behaviours are deep seated and that’s without addressing the prevalence of severe mental health issues, substance abuse and unhealthy lifestyles.
Ronnie & Marie