Developing Your Career

Five “Rules of Engagement” for Building Trust with Co-workers

By Kristen Leverone on September 27, 2012

Who do you trust? A recent LHH on-line poll revealed that nearly three quarters of employees are “very much” to “moderately” inclined to trust their work colleagues. Only one in ten reported that they don’t trust their co-workers.

What would your work team say about you? Are you helping to create an environment where co-workers forge common bonds and build trusting relationships — the kind of environment that fosters the cooperation and collaboration that is critical to achieving goals?

Here are five simple “rules of engagement” to ensure you’re building relationships built on trust:

  1. Meet your commitments. Broken promises and missed deadlines can have a profoundly negative impact on the work team as a whole. If circumstances change to the point where expectations must be realigned, be sure to keep your team in the loop.
  2. Maintain confidences. Don’t squander co-workers’ trust by divulging a confidence or indulging in any other hurtful or destructive gossip. Once the bond of trust has been broken, it’s very difficult to salvage.
  3. Respect boundaries. Know where to draw the line in relationships with co-workers. Some may be more forthcoming than others when it comes to their personal lives. A few may be territorial about their work assignments. Respect these differences.
  4. Be kind. Small decencies in our words and actions signal sensitivity and caring, demonstrate strength and fairness, and improve everyone’s sense of well-being. If you have a tough message to communicate, it doesn’t need to be cruel.
  5. Acknowledge the contributions of others. Recognize the work of others by sharing positive feedback. Creating an environment of mutual support builds confidence among team members and helps people feel valued.

Earning and maintaining the trust of your colleagues has a profoundly positive impact on individual, team and organizational performance, directly contributing to higher levels of personal job satisfaction and the success of your organization.

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