I Trust You, I Don’t Trust You…

Last week I wrote about bullies in the workplace and how destructive that can be.  This week I want to talk about how positive it can be in a workforce when there is a high degree of trust.  In life we meet many people and we make judgments about them, primarily deciding if we trust them or not.  The same thing happens with our workforce.  We meet and begin work relationships with an employee or management team, and we have to decide to trust or not.

Although these whispering sisters look adorable, leave the gossip at home

Image via Flickr by Kevin Shorter

I’ve taught my kids some things like…

  • people really are known by the company they keep,
  • sometimes good people do bad things and sometimes bad people do good things,
  • if they’ll talk to you about someone behind their back, they’ll probably talk about you behind your back.

Those were things intended to show my children how to judge a person’s trustworthiness.  The things I tell them to be trustworthy are these…

  • tell the truth,
  • don’t gossip,
  • don’t cheat,
  • don’t steal.

In our workforce, trust looks the same.  Those people who would steal from the company or gossip or cheat probably aren’t trustworthy.  Those people who work hard and tell the truth probably are trustworthy.

It’s so important for leaders and management in the workplace to live their lives in such a way that every employee and client knows they can be trusted.  This begins a culture of trust, and I don’t think you can have a culture of trust when the management and leaders are not trustworthy.  So the buck stops there.  Set the example and then insist upon having employee s who are trustworthy.  If you turn your head the other way when you know people are not being trustworthy, it’s the same as saying “it’s o.k.”

I like Stephen Covey’s take on trust: “The first job of any leader is to inspire trust. Trust is confidence born of two dimensions: character and competence. Character includes your integrity, motive, and intent with people. Competence includes your capabilities, skills, results, and track record. Both dimensions are vital.” It truly is two dimensional in with a workforce.  Make sure you and your staff have the skills needed, and then conduct yourself with integrity and watch the positive results grow.

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