People & Human Resources

Trust: The heart of great work relationships

Eve Ash /

Trust is the unseen but vital glue in all areas of life, and most certainly in business. But is it being eroded by the online world of disruption and snappy virtual interactions on social media?

Trust is more essential than ever. It forms the heart of great work relationships and underpins every business and societal institution you care to name.

So how do we achieve it?

When life is tough, your occupation is tricky, and insecurity is causing your emotional foundations to shudder, think of the following.

1. Do the do!

Provided you’re not asked to be unethical or act as though you’re running a sweatshop, one of the key ingredients of trust is reliability. This is the person who arrives on time or earlier; delivers what they say they will do, consistently and very well; is there when you need to call them; isn’t grumpy (or at least twinkles on occasion); and puts thought, skill, experience and energy into the tasks at hand. No less than that.

If you are there for someone when they need help, or offer to do things above the expected, a bond will grow with a foundation of trust. It begins with positive communication.

2. Reserve judgment

Trust is a precious gem. It shouldn’t be handed over too quickly for the simple reason that not everyone recognises its worth. Putting your trust in a superficially sympathetic colleague who aims well-meaning darts into your confidence can be a mistake. A trustworthy colleague listens without passing waspish remarks, and instead provides assistance where it counts.  Constructive criticism is what’s called for, not victim-blaming.

And yet, many people cannot help but talk behind others’ backs.

3. Be trustworthy

Doesn’t this go without saying? Of course not. It’s tied to the above; discretion is very important in delicate commercial and HR matters. Discretion does not mean mindlessly carrying out unethical practices because you’ve been ordered to (or else); it does mean that one needs to be mindful about certain information and how and where it’s to be used (or not).

4. Reward and properly value the doer

Trust is a two-way street; it simply cannot flourish when one person does the hard yards while the other skips in and out and behaves in an arrogant, self-regarding fashion. People need both financial and psychic income. Sooner or later, a trustworthy soul will draw a line in the sand if a diva continues to disregard what’s being done for them. Trust will vanish (and eventually the trustworthy person will as well). It certainly operates that way in democratic politics, and really, business doesn’t get very far without it either (although the advent of bots could bring an entirely new dimension to the notions of ‘reliable’ and ‘value’).

Trust is timeless

When you remember the little things (the kind of tea bags someone likes, for example) and you cater to those special needs we all have, something very special grows. It’s the trust built on caring for others.

When the above are evidenced in business, political and personal dealings, and you multiply this millions of times over, trust becomes a pillar of the way societies and economies successfully function. It’s not the buzzword or jargon of the moment. Trust, properly exercised, is timeless, particularly during periods of upheaval. It outshines many other qualities.

It is very easy to break trust, and once broken, it’s hard to rebuild, sometimes impossible. So think before you write, speak or act!

Eve Ash is a psychologist, author, filmmaker, public speaker and entrepreneur. She runs Seven Dimensions, a company specialising in training resources for the workplace. See the rest of Eve’s blogs here.

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Eve Ash

Eve Ash is a psychologist, author, filmmaker, public speaker and entrepreneur. She runs Seven Dimensions, a company specialising in training resources for the workplace.

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