Trust in the Workplace: Don't Do It

There are two sides to this topic—you trusting someone and that person trusting you. Most experts agree, solid trust is the foundation of a healthy work environment. It can be built over years and permanently torn in a matter of seconds.

According to Google: Trust is a characteristic that builds respect and loyalty, as well as a supportive and safe work environment. Distrust increases tension and negative "on guard" behavior, which can erode the spirit of the team and ultimately productivity.

In my book, The Big Sister’s Guide to the World of Work: The Inside Rules Every Working Woman Must Know, Chapter 8 spells out my feelings in three words: Trust No One.

It’s a tough perspective to take. However, after my 30+ years, and a few ruinous mistakes, I still stick to this advice-- You are your best Public Relations person bar none. You can’t control what other people say, but at work it’s best to keep any negative or private information about yourself to yourself. All positive things you want to say, share. Share with a smile and back it up with facts. That way, only positive things can be repeated.

Here are the 11 ways to create trust and how to avoid it being blown to smithereens.

1. Tell the truth when asked. You can’t go wrong. What can go wrong is you are branded a liar, and you are cooked.

2. Don’t fib on your expenses, take someone’s yogurt, or do a side deal with a supplier. You get caught, you're toast, and will be branded a thief.

3. Be consistent. That means your mood, behavior, appearance, and your work. You will be respected. Inconsistency = untrustworthiness.

4. Look people in the eye when you speak to them, uncross your arms and legs, and put your phone down. Don’t forget to smile. People trust others who are open and present in a conversation. No smile = no promotion.

5. Don’t gossip. Enough said. If someone is telling you something that shouldn’t be repeated, smile and excuse yourself. If your Tattle Tale gets caught, count on him to say he told YOU too!

6. Think VERY carefully before you offer an unsolicited judgment. Karma is a bitch. Better to talk to your family than share a potentially explosive point-of-view.

7. Put the word ME aside and say WE.

8. Nurture mutually beneficial relationships.

9. Accept criticism gracefully. It is an opportunity to learn how to do better.

10. LISTEN. Silence is only a pause not an ending. Don’t interrupt.

11. Shoot straight. Stick to the issues and deliver facts when responding.

Shoot me an email with your thoughts.

Office Culture and Politics Expert

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