Building Trust In The Workplace


Without mutual trust and respect among employees and management it is difficult to implement high performance or high commitment work practices.  According to Work and Family Newsbrief, companies that have cultures in which trust flourishes have half the turnover rate 12.6% vs. 26%.


The following are foundational behaviors that help create a work environment that builds trust among employees and management.


1.         People give credit for the good work that is done.

2.         Individuals take responsibility for their actions/behavior rather than making excuses or blaming others.

3.         Individuals are committed to keeping each other informed and trust each other to pass along information appropriately.

4.         People collaborate on important issues by seeking out each other’s opinions and expertise.

5.         People talk in terms of “we” instead of creating “us and them” distinctions.

6.         Individuals focus on the main issues or mission and don’t get sidetracked by differences in details.

7.         Individuals respect organizational structure and roles and don’t use them as weapons.

8.         Individuals value each other’s background and experience rather than discrediting each other’s competence.

9.         Concerns, criticisms, and conflicts are openly raised, are focused on methods for accomplishing the work, and are discussed in a respectful manner.

People speak positively about their work, the organization, and the future rather than negatively or expressing cynicism.


In essence, the above foundational behaviors represent ways that individuals can build on each other’s professional and operational strengths rather than competing with or condemning one another or playing on each other’s shortcomings.  They also require that people make a conscious decision to practice them daily.



Oestreich, D. and Ryan, K.  “Driving Fear Out of the Workplace”.  San Francisco:

    Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1998.

Work & Family NewsBrief.  “Fortune’s 100 Best have cultures of trust and pride.” Feb.

    1999, pg.1.