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Trust: The foundation to success

Trust: The foundation to success

If the pandemic has proven anything, it is that trust remains the foundation for success. The leaders of the Best Workplaces™ established and maintained the trust of their employees. They continued to invest in employee relationships by paying attention, showing understanding, being knowledgeable and leading by example.

As a leader, you want the people in your organisation to trust you. And with good reason. When trust is low, many aspects of working life suffer:

  • Employees put less effort and attention into their work
  • Levels of collaboration and cooperation with others tumble
  • Employees care less about the success of the organisation

The associated business cost is clear, even if it may be difficult to quantify. But creating that trust or, perhaps more importantly, re-establishing it when you’ve lost it isn’t always that straightforward. We know that trust takes time to build.

How to fill the jar with trust marbles?

Psychologist and author, Brené Brown explains the functioning of trust using a jar of marbles as a metaphor:

  • Every time someone does what they say they are going to do; you add a marble to the jar
  • Each time someone breaks trust; you take a marble out

The goal for all of us is to fill each other’s jar. But how?

Nurture Positive Relationships.

Trust is in part based on the extent to which a leader is able to create positive relationships with other people and groups. It’s difficult to have trust with someone you don’t know well. Regular and frequent one-on-one time to explore employee’s goals, motivations and interests, even if only for 15 minutes, creates conditions to connect in a way that generates trust.

Express Good Judgement and Expertise.

Another factor that determines whether people trust a leader is the extent to which a leader is well-informed and knowledgeable. Trustworthy leaders must understand the technical aspects of the work as well as have a depth of experience. Coming across as a capable leader requires therefore open communication and knowledge sharing. Taking the time to share information transparently and authentically is a show of respect and a powerful trust builder. A leader’s expertise is a powerful gift that deserves to be shared to help the entire team.

Be consistent.

The final element of trust is the extent to which leaders do what they say they will do. People rate a leader high in trust if they are a role model and set a good example. In short: Walk the talk! Honour commitments, keep promises, follow through on commitments and start adding these marbles to the jar!


Eager to learn more about how Best Workplaces got Better during the pandemic?
BW 2021 Booklet blog

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