I love this blog post on creating trust within your workplace; the author’s key point is that if you act as though your workers are trustworthy – assuming positive intent, not micromanaging them, allowing them to make decisions – they are more likely to BE trustworthy than if you are continually vigilant for signs of foul play. Trust really is one of those things that feeds on itself, quickly and easily assuming an upward – or downward – spiral.
Research indicates that most people are fairly willing to trust others at first. Small bits of evidence that our trust had indeed been warranted lead us to further trust. But once our trust has been broken or violated, it can take a long time before we are willing to trust that person again – the bar is far higher the second time around. The offender will have to engage in more and bigger displays of trustworthy behavior in order to regain their previous position. They will have to start small and work their way back up.
I have been skeptical about “trust building exercises” ever since a friend was injured in one of those fall-and-be-caught games at an outdoor training. I love fun and finding ways to incorporate games into our learning activities…but too many of these are irrelevant to the task at hand or are just downright silly. When you do what you said you would do, I trust you. When you tell me something that makes you vulnerable, I trust you. When I tell you something that makes me feel vulnerable and you respond with care, I trust you. When I see you treat others well, I trust you. When you place trust in me, I trust you.