Trust in the workplace is the experience of feeling connected to our contribution and those we’re serving. It may seem lucky when we happen to fall into the right job at the right time. But the experience of trusting ourselves, the work we do and those around us is something we manage, whether consciously or not. When we feel good about ourselves and the work we’re doing, we treat each other differently than when we feel guarded and protected. Can we be more intentional about how we manage relationships and do our work so that we can increase this trust factor? Over the last decade, learning to manage change has been the mantra. Maybe it’s time to look instead at how trust impacts our relationship with change. By definition, change is constant. You can respond to it, you can be proactive, but change by its very nature is in flux. Our need to feel in control is in our DNA and drives our desire to manage change. But how much change do we really have control over? Maybe one of a few things we do have control over is how we treat each other, and how others treat us? Could it be that the attitude we bring to work has greater impact on the success of our business than any other measure?
One place attitude has great impact is how management and staff relate to each other. In my twenty years of consulting, a consistent complaint shared by management of staff is, “Why am I not getting greater productivity from my people?” From those doing the work, the complaint is, “Management has no idea what it takes to get the work done.” This lack of appreciation of each other’s role breeds an inevitable absence of trust between these two groups and reveals a widespread lack of genuine dialogue down an organization. This disconnect has great impact on people’s productivity, motivation and connection to their work.
It’s time to stop dancing around how these two groups privately view each other and begin to develop a greater appreciation of the scope of each other’s work. Only then will management and staff begin to show the mutual respect needed to build genuine trust.