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Building Trust in the Workplace

The establishment of a solid level of trust is a key element to running a business. It is also something that is far too often taken for granted. Many would argue that profit is the most important aspect of a business, which is difficult to dispute, but you cannot achieve sustained financial success without first building, cultivating and maintaining trust within your organization. The businesses that adhere to a fundamental foundation of trust are the ones that experience tremendous teamwork and therefore the greatest amount of continuous prosperity.

Trust is not something that is established by simply saying all of the right things, but rather a commodity that needs to be earned through positive action and reinforcement. It is important to remember that you hired the people that work for you due in large part to their intelligence, so it is essential that you treat them like the intellectual beings that they are. You must do everything ethically within your power to ensure that operations run as evenly and efficiently as they were promised upon hiring. If you treat them as if they are anything other than critical cogs in the machine, an atmosphere of doubt and dissatisfaction will develop and intensify, ultimately leading to failure. After an air of trust has been established within your workplace, it is absolutely necessary that you appreciate and bolster this coveted asset. Trust can be a delicate emotion, so it is imperative that you utilize things such as trust building activities and exercises, stressing the importance of interpersonal and interdepartmental trust.

Without cohesiveness between the different levels of your workforce, the organization will not be whole.  Another indispensable facet of a prosperous organization is clear and honest communication. A business absent of efficient communication will lead to an environment filled with negativity and void of productivity. It is crucial that coherent communication starts at the top, as that is the only way that it will trickle down to all of your associates. A workplace functions much more smoothly when all members of the team are comfortable with reaching out to each other, especially when things do not go as planned. Team building activities can be quite effective in achieving this connection. In order for an organization to truly achieve a high level of success, collaboration is another major element to the process.


Authentic collaboration cannot exist without a strong sense of trust between the members of your team. With the presence of that trust, your associates will far more likely to bring up matters that are pertinent to the goals of the team and/or its members. It also allows for the steady flow of creative ideas amongst your employees.   An incredibly useful management tool, known as the Jacobs Model, was developed by Susanne Jacobs, an employee motivation specialist. The model links eight intrinsic drivers of trust, each impacted by an individual's psychological wellbeing and work environment, to two paths of performance, leading to either positive or negative outcomes. These intrinsic drivers are: Belong and connect, voice and recognition, significance and position, fairness, learn and challenge, choice and autonomy, security and certainty, and purpose. When all of these drivers are satisfied it leads to positive outcomes, such as engagement, energy release, boosted wellbeing and improved performance. When the drivers are not met, it leads to withdrawal, distress, absenteeism and reduced performance.