Despite the fact that many people still believe people don’t have to get along at work; they just have to do their jobs, it’s almost impossible to work well with people you don’t trust.
Lack of trust contributes to a dysfunctional workplace – people not getting their work done and making mistakes.
While you can’t control other people’s behaviors, you can control yours. There are actions you can take to build trust so that you can flourish. It’s hard to trust people you don’t know, and when you need help, you are unlikely to ask someone you don’t trust.
Here are five ways to build trust at work:
1. Take time to get to know at least one co-worker.
Find out what they like about working at your company, what they love doing outside of work, and any hidden talent or skill they may have. Connect where you have common interests and express interest in what you don’t know. Perhaps you both like to cook or your co-worker is working on a new app. You can share recipes or ask questions about the app. You’re establishing a new way of seeing each other which can start to build trust.
2. Refuse to take part in gossip, listening to rumors, or labeling someone based on another person’s judgment.
Quash the conversation any time it starts. After a while, people will trust and respect you as someone who is honest and that they can talk to and ask for help.
3. Everyone is busy doing their work, trying to meet deadlines, and stressed for time. Don’t be one of those people.
Take time to answer questions, give positive feedback to others, and offer help. This will ultimately save you time and energy because others will support you back, and share best practices
4. Be empathetic.
If you know your colleague is feeling overwhelmed or stressed, talk to them. Acknowledge their situation. Often a simple acknowledgment can reduce stress, make the other person stop for a minute, and engage with you. You don’t need to rescue anyone else; you just need to be a supportive peer.
5. Keep your word and honor your commitments.
Only say yes to a project or task you can finish, and don’t set unrealistic deadlines. Not keeping your word and not coming through is the best way to get a reputation for not being trustworthy. Be known as the person who can be trusted to do what you promise.
And finally, overall, greet everyone with a smile and say hello. Make a connection and make a work friend.
Simma Lieberman helps create inclusive work cultures where people love to do their best work. She is a consultant, speaker and executive coach. For more information visit www.simmalieberman.com