"The strange thing about trust is you don't really think about it, until it breaks." - Tilottama Chatterjee
Can you disagree that we tend to take the trust that we have in others, and the trust that others have in us, for granted quite often? And this was just about inter-personal trust. Now imagine having to build, develop, safeguard, and maintain the trust of an entire organization! It may sound like a Herculean task, but all it takes is a belief and adherence to some very basic principles of life. Developing trust in the workplace is a two-way duty and responsibility of the management, as well as the employees. Trust begets trust. If you are not capable of keeping someone's trust, then you have no right to expect someone to trust you, and even more so, in a workplace. Workplace ethics demand that you be absolutely honest in your dealings within the organization. Let us see some ways in which you can create an environment that is conducive to the establishment and sustainment of trust.
When you think about building and maintaining trust in your workplace, you need to understand that simply making tall claims about having a transparent administration is not enough. Your employees were hired because of their intellectual and educational qualities and qualifications. You need to remember that they were not born yesterday. They are intelligent enough to understand if something is amiss. So, give them the credit, and do not insult their intelligence. Keep the functioning of the organization as smooth and efficient as you told them it would be. The minute you begin to exploit them, you can be assured that a feeling of mistrust and discontent will begin to fester. This feeling will be deep rooted, and unless nipped in the bud by coming clean about your intentions and plans with them, can prove to be detrimental to the functioning of the organization.
Once you have the trust of your employees, you need to take appropriate measures to see to it that this trust is not broken. Cherish and nurture this trust, which is a very fragile emotion. Use various trust building activities and exercises at regular get-togethers. Stress the importance of inter-personal and inter-departmental trust, without which, you cannot expect the flow of business to be smooth and without any hiccups. Have quotes and sayings about printed and pasted in hallways. Or have a board on which you can encourage the employees to write one quote everyday.
One of the root causes of discontentment in the workplace is the absence of communication. How can you trust someone who doesn't talk to you? The same goes for workplace communication. It is the absence or inadequacy of effective communication that leads to a lot of negativity in the workplace. The only way to eradicate this negativity, is to have a system that is crystal-clear and which leaves no room for any doubt in the minds of employees. In an effort to increase trust and bonding among employees, you can arrange for different team building activities.
Maintaining a high level professionalism in the workplace does not mean that you need to appear to be devoid of any human emotion. While you have to take a firm stand on many issues in your workplace, you must realize that if you want to build trust in the workplace, then you have to get rid of the 'too-professional-to-mix-up' tag, that you may have. Meet up regularly with your employees, ask them about their grievances, commend them on their achievements, and when it comes to reprimanding them, do it subtly in the beginning, and resort to extreme measures only after all other options fail. This will show them that you do care about their well-being too, and will definitely help to assert their trust in you.
Those were some things you can do to build trust in your workplace. As said earlier, they are nothing but a simple and effective plan derived from the most fundamental principles that anyone should follow in life. So, use them, and create a wonderful and employee-friendly environment in your workplace.