Sometimes, there is a definitive, neatly wrapped culprit for why a workplace is unhappy or unproductive — or, more often, both. But often, says consultant and author Dennis Reina, problems can be traced back to a more elusive source: lack of trust.
“Trust is not just a nice thing to have — it’s sound business. When people are not communicating openly with each other, when they’re missing deadlines or withholding information and not admitting mistakes, clients don’t get served,” says Reina, who along with his wife and business partner Michelle Reina authored “Rebuilding Trust in the Workplace” and “Trust and Betrayal in the Workplace.” “Trust is one of those things that’s often taken for granted, until it becomes a problem.”
And when it does become a problem, a lack of trust can ruin a job or even a business. “When these issues aren’t addressed, it becomes simply, ‘that’s the way it is around here,’” says Reina. “The good talent walks out the door, or worse yet they stay, and then they become the working wounded.”
Before you become a skeptical zombie among the untrustworthy hordes, here’s what Reina recommends:
Acknowledge the effort of your co-workers or employees:
“We spend most of our waking hours at work, and because of this, people want to know that it makes a difference to someone, somehow, somewhere. Specifically acknowledging a specific performance really speaks volumes.”
Admit when you make a mistake:
“When you admit your mistakes it shows that you’re human and vulnerable, and it gives your employees or co-workers permission to admit theirs. You don’t want to be blindsided and hear about mistakes from your clients and customers. It’s important that it’s safe to admit mistakes.”
Arrive on time and hit deadlines:
“The same people are consistently late. And what’s the message? That you view yourself more important than the rest of the room. It sends a message that there’s a lack of respect, or that you don’t have it together enough.”
Follow Monica Weymouth on Twitter @MonicaatMetro.