The value of trust

The value of trust


It is something that has to be earned, yet is not difficult to attain. 

“When people honour each other, there is a trust established that leads to synergy, interdependence, and deep respect. Both parties make decisions and choices based on what is right, what is best, what is valued most highly.” – Blaine Lee 

WE do not trust each other anymore. That’s the feeling I get looking at the events that have taken place over the past few weeks. The word “trust” has become highly overrated and has lead to scepticism. Ask anyone today about trust and they will tell you how difficult it is to trust people.  

If we are lucky enough to trust someone implicitly, the reasons we do so are based on the promises that were never broken or the commitments that were always fulfilled. But many feel that promises made are broken and commitments unfulfilled. 

Few leaders today have the capacity to earn the trust of the people they lead. This is not an easy task. The demands of the people are limitless and juggling these demands with what is available is impossible, particularly when you also have to deal with people’s greed. 

Yet, gaining the trust of those around you is not an unachievable task. Ask a child and she will tell you that if her parents kept their word and fulfilled their promises, trust was generated. Ask a student and she will tell you that if her teacher made sure that the students were adequately-prepared for the next level of their education, then trust was created by the teacher.  

Ask an employee and he will tell you that if the boss honoured his word to the staff, then trust was achieved. In all these situations, even small actions made trust possible. Trust was created because of the following: 

  • The feeling that you can depend on someone or anyone. 


  • The cooperation and experience of working within a team. 


  • The ability to take risks and be protected. 


  • The experience of communication, whereby people believe each other. 

    We all know that the best way to maintain a trusting work environment is to prevent distrust. This means a strong corporate vision and mission, a show of integrity of the leadership, truthfulness and transparency of the communication with staff within the organisation, all of which are critical factors. All this boils down to is, “I trust my boss/my supervisor/my staff … to do the right thing all the time”. 

    In the real world, there are many things that can go wrong daily and trust is often compromised. It is a fact that you may do a hundred things right and no one will even think about how trustworthy you are. But you do one thing wrong, or one promise is unfulfilled, and it will never be forgotten and trust would be lost.  

    Employees also learn to mistrust even in the best of workplaces because of their life experiences, often, bad ones at the hands of an unfair boss or unscrupulous leader. On the other hand, bosses will tell you that no matter how well the employees are looked after, they will still walk away if someone offers them a better deal.  

    It is quite apparent that trust is an issue, to some degree, in most organisations. 

    How do we build trusting relationships in an organisation? It is all about the way you conduct yourself and the values you have, which promote trust in the relationships.  

    Here are some ideas that might work: 


  • Look at people who are capable of developing good interpersonal skills with others in the organisation. Encourage them to build trust within the firm so that, although everyone may be different, they will behave in a professional way. 


  • Make sure that the people you hire are trainable in the manner you want them to behave to ensure trust is created and nurtured. 


  • Your staff members must be kept informed of whatever is happening in the organisation. It is really wise to give them whatever information you can safely divulge in any given situation so that gossip and misinformation do not destroy the trust created by the organisation. 


  • See that staff in supervisory positions act with integrity. They are expected to keep their commitments and if they cannot do so, then they must explain why. 


  • If there are issues, deal with them in a timely fashion. People watch you all the time and if you are unable to create the necessary checks and balances in the workplace, you lose their trust. 


  • Protect the interests of all your staff. We should know by now that discrimination of any kind creates distrust.  

    As a supervisor, if you are not competent in what you do, you lose the trust. If you do not know something, admit it and your staff will admire you for it. 

    If you profess to be a leader of an organisation, do engage in trust-building activities only when you desire a trusting, empowering, team-oriented work environment.  

    Engaging in these activities is only for the honourable and not for the dishonest. People will know the difference, or when they eventually find out, they will never trust you again. 

    “The glue that holds all relationships together – including the relationship between the leader and the led – is trust, and trust is based on integrity.” – Brian Tracy

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