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Trust me, I know what I'm doing.

Professional trust is an old subject that remains a popular conversation piece. Consequently we hear a lot about how to deal with trust issues in the workplace and how to identify these issues, deal with them and work to improve them. And of course there are a dozen adages along the lines of "trust is earned over a lifetime or destroyed in a minute"; no doubt there's a calendar that's been created in this theme.

I divide trust into two broad categories: truth and belief. With truth, the test is simply whether the person in question is fibbing, lying, deceitful, or is chronically economic with the facts. With belief, the test is whether you have faith that the person can make the right decision and carry it out.

When dealing with untruthfulness and its various shades of grey - it is obvious that trust is precious and that it can be broken. And the kicker is that unlike in many families, a colleague isn't going to bother with the uphill task of rebuilding trust. I know that I tend to divert my energies elsewhere.

Yet I am more inclined to give someone the benefit of the doubt when it comes to believing in them. I don't think this a weakness either. In fact I remain steadfast in my belief that it is ultimately a strength to have at least a baseline belief in people's abilities. Yes my convictions have been tested in previous workplaces a few times and yes, each time I felt like I should re-visit my strategy. But how else does one learn, mentor, lead, create and improve?

One final word, and trust me (!) it is worth reading this until the end, it is true that trust can be created and lost by organizations just as it can be with individuals. This is a major reason why it is so important for organizations to develop their rationale, properly engage their stakeholders, set a clear course and use straight messaging.


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