Are you looking to earn the trust from your team? Or trust between employees? Are you interested in being a great leader? Then keep reading! 

This article will inspire you to gain high levels of trust and how to avoid developing distrust. With trust you will motivate employees, increase engagement, loyalty and elevate performance.

The Importance of Trust In The Workplace

Trust is powerful.  Distrust is also powerful  At the core of all great relationships, and especially those inside our workplaces, there must be trust. You must trust the company you work for, the people you work with, the companies you do business with, the people you affiliate professionally with and your leadership. It is a critical and necessary ingredient for all of us.  

When that trust is broken, it is a problem, and can cause anything from a simple upset moment all the way to a crisis that results in turnover or even human resource related issues. 

Have You Ever Wondered Why And What You Can Do To Regain The Loss Of Trust?

Trust is built and earned when you feel that the other person is in your corner, will support you and has your best interests at heart. They may not always agree with you and even give you constructive feedback but you do not feel that they are out to get you in any way. 

On the other hand, distrust is also earned and results in a fear that the other person is not for you, is not out to support you and in fact be undermining you in some way. To complicate it, when trust is lost or broken, we start doubting ourselves. We lose confidence. We wonder about our own judgment– after all, if I trusted someone and they betrayed me, that means I screwed up and thus I should not trust my own judgment. This is true for most of us, whether it is a person we know well, a co-worker, a manager or a company that betrayed us.

The difference when you are a leader is immense. When you have team members who trust you and you trust them, ideas are shared openly, performance is expanded, employee engagement rises, and their self-confidence is elevated. 

When you are not trusted or you don’t trust them, there is judging, withholding, controlling and a decrease in performance and increased turnover. It is often reported the people don’t leave companies, they leave managers they don’t trust.

How Do Our Brains Build Trust? 

According to two-plus decades of neuroscience research, according to Judith Glaser, author of Conversational Intelligence: How Great Leaders Build Trust and Get Extraordinary Results  and one of my mentors, a powerful measure of a leader’s strength is the capacity to trust and to be trusted. It is important to understand the mechanism of trust and distrust if you are to be effective.

Our brains are hardwired to protect us.

They are constantly scanning for threats- both real threats and perceived threats. When they detect a threat they go into a natural protection mode, and the part of the brain called the amygdala goes into overdrive, which also wakes up all our memories of threat in the limbic area of the brain and we are in the “fight, flight, freeze or appease others” response.

If there is a real threat, like your life is in danger, this response can keep you in action and alive. However, most of the time, at work, there is no real threat, simply a perception of one and then you are triggered and your brain is flooded with neurochemicals in this response but our ability to think critically, use our executive brain functions is slowed down. Then we add all the past incidents in which a similar threat occurred and that is that- trust is lost. This can be as simple as a word, a tone, an interpretation of constructive criticism or a misinterpretation of intention.

When you and I trust, we stimulate our neurochemicals in a positive way. This allows us to create a bond with someone and that connection further stimulates our brain. When we are in this state, we are at tap into our brilliance, our creativity and our ability to solve complex problems and situations. The hormones of connection are powerful and emotional. They allow us to be vulnerable and share ourselves. Obviously, we want to get to the trust state!

How Do We Create Trust Or Restore It When It Has Been Lost?

  1. Be aware of your own fear and threat reaction. When you are in fear, you have consistent physical sensations, consistent thoughts and things you say. When you recognize that is a pattern, you can acknowledge it and allow yourself to interrupt it. 
  2. Listen. Many of us listen only to agree or disagree and often miss what is being said. Active listening is the process of tuning in, letting go of what you think they mean and ask clarifying questions. Listen without judgement. Listen with curiosity and a sense of discovery. This will allow for a connection where trust grows and where neurochemicals of connection are stimulated. Especially if you want to rebuild trust.
  3. Consider your point of view is simply one point of view and be open to seeing other points of view. Confident people ask questions for which  you have no answers- open ended questions. Be open to see the world from someone else’s vantage point and to allow them to contribute to you as well. When employees feel that their voice matters, you elevate the trust level and engender loyalty automatically.
  4. Forgive. Forgiveness is also a gift– it is a gift to the person but is truly is a gift to yourself. It is a gift that allows you to restore your confidence and trust in yourself. To forgive is to give as before whatever happened. Realize people make mistakes and restoring trust in them elevates all of our connections and trust levels.

Give the gift of trust. Trust yourself and trust others. Forgive.

You can handle whatever happens.  

Knowing trust is key to employee engagement, loyalty and increased productivity allows you to take some simple actions to be a really great leader. Building a culture of trust gives you a competitive advantage in today’s marketplace where team members succeed and innovation soars.

An Executive Coach Can Help

Learn more about my executive coaching program here.