Interpersonal relationships depend on trust, so trust in the workplace is essential to the success of any organization. If co-workers don’t trust each other, or if employees and supervisors don’t trust each other, the organization cannot function as effectively to achieve its goals. According to an article published by TTG Consultants, successful organizations usually have high levels of trust in the workplace, while unsuccessful organizations do not.
Trust and Influence
Trust is defined by vulnerability, according to a graduate dissertation by Adam C. Bandelli at the University of South Florida. When you leave yourself vulnerable to another person in some way because you believe he will act in your best interests, you behave with trust toward him. Bandelli defines the ability to develop trusting relationships as a political skill. Those who are not trusted by their co-workers or supervisors usually have little influence in the workplace, while those who are trusted are influential. Advancing within the organization may depend on your ability to cultivate interpersonal relationships based on trust.
Trust and Communication
Good communication in the workplace depends on trust, because people rarely communicate openly without it. When trust is lacking in a relationship, both parties may hold back information and doubt the information presented by the other person. The more you trust the person you’re communicating with, the more likely you are to share information freely and to let the other person know how you really feel about the situation. Efficient and successful organizations value clear and complete communication in the workplace.
Behaviors that Build Trust
Behaviors that build trust in workplace relationships include consistency between words and actions, treating other people as equals, working for the benefit of the whole group rather than just for your own personal advantage and behaving with integrity even when it hurts your short-term interests. The development of trust in a relationship happens in a series of small stages, and negative interactions can have a more significant impact than positive experiences.
Behaviors to Avoid
Behaviors that reduce trust in workplace relationships include sarcastic words or body language, inconsistency, working for personal benefit rather than group benefit, keeping information to yourself and dishonesty. Because of the disproportionate affect of negative interactions on interpersonal relationships, it is more important for you to avoid behaviors that reduce trust than it is to cultivate behaviors that increase trust. Learning how to develop trusting relationships with co-workers, employees and supervisors is a vital professional skill.