Experiencing Trust Issues at Work? Find out Why!


Are you dealing with trust issues at work? Does it seem like your colleagues simply can’t place their faith in you? Recent research will suggest that you are not alone in facing such problems – in fact, they appear endemic in today’s world, fraught with anxiety and sources of mistrust. The most recent Gallup poll on the degree of trust Americans place in public institutions saw Congress reaching the lowest levels of trust since the poll was first ran, in 1973. Just 10 per cent of Americans trust Congress.

At the same time, America’s leading public opinion research institution looked into how much Americans invest themselves in the work they do, day in and day out. The survey found only 30 per cent of them to take active interest in their occupation. Their trust issues at work, the poll results say, stem from their attitude toward their boss or the company as a whole. In other words, America isn’t being too productive right now, neither at legislative level, nor where private companies are concerned. According to Gallup estimates, the 70 per cent workers who are not engaged in what they do are costing the economy $450 to $550 billion each year.

How to approach personal trust issues at work

The author of Trust Inc., Nan S. Russell, has come up with several strategies to addressing trust issues at work. She explains that such issues usually come from placing the blame and/or responsibility for trust on somebody else. In other words, it’s not the boss’s responsibility to get employees to trust him, it’s the human resources manager who’s supposed to deal with it. Yet no actual solutions come from persistently allotting the blame with someone else, Russell suggests. Here are her tips on how to promote trust and a friendlier environment at work:

  • Deliver what you promise. Nobody likes those who promise to bring in results but never keep their word. People want to see achievements and expect others to show some accountability for their actions.
  • Micromanagement is counterproductive to trust. One of the main reason for which people don’t trust their bosses is that said bosses tend to micromanage various workplace situations, instead of trusting others to take care of those situations. Such an attitude clearly conveys a dictatorial streak, which, in time, will develop into trust issues at work.
  • Say ‘I’m sorry’ when need be. Taking responsibility for one’s own actions ties in with the concept of trust, as explained above. It’s difficult to always own up to what you do, yet apologizing for mistakes and making genuine efforts toward amending them will pay off tenfold in the long run. Otherwise, an inability to assume responsibility will just give off the impression of immaturity.
  • Displaying mistrust in communication. At times, it pays off to include hierarchical superiors in in-house communication. However, if every mail you ever send out is CC-ed to everybody or if you constantly find yourself having otherwise private communication in public (think ‘reply all’) this will quickly backfire and translate into a lack of trust from the part of others. You will be perceived as someone who always needs to make sure their back is covered. While this attitude usually betrays a lack of trust in one’s own strengths, it will also be perceived as an inability to trust others.
  • Recognize the merits of others. Remember, you work on a team. Even if the pitch winning idea was initially yours, basking in the glory on your own will only leave you out on your own. The rest of the team will learn not to trust you with crediting them, which is counterproductive and creates trust issues at work.

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