There’s a definite lack of trust at the moment – in our institutions, in politicians, and sometimes between leaders and their teams at work.  Trust arises from shared experience and our judgements of each other’s behaviour.  

About trust:

  • We trust people whom we regard as reliable and predictable – people who do what they say they will do.   
  • It’s not just about doing what you have said you will do, but also about acting with positive intent for others and taking account of their needs and perspectives.
  • Getting to know people on a personal level develops trust.  Taking the risk of revealing more about your own feelings, values and beliefs will encourage people to trust you. 
  • Working with others in a collaborative way builds trust – identifying common goals and shared purpose, showing commitment to achieving outcomes that work for all parties, being mutually accountable for results.
  • Trust has an emotional dimension.  To trust other people, you need to feel positive emotions about them, rather than negative emotions like fear, uncertainty and doubt. 

How often can we honestly say we behave in these ways, even with people in our own organisations, let alone people outside?

What can leaders (and others) do to create more trust at work? 

  • Take time to build rapport and get to know people
  • Take the risk of being honest about mistakes 
  • Be open about the actions you take to put them right
  • Build collaborative relationships rather than competing ones
  • Acknowledge potential conflicts of interest
  • Show the courage to speak truth to power