The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Business

April 18, 2014

Career Coach: How to build trust at work

Go into many organizations and you might hear people say things like "I don't trust my co-workers to do what they say they will," "My boss can't be trusted to keep confidential information" or "This place really lacks trust among colleagues." Lack of trust is a common complaint among employees, and people want to be in workplaces with strong levels of trust.

Trust is so important that many scholars say it is the foundation of a healthy workplace.

In his book, "The Speed of Trust," Stephen M.R. Covey describes trust as confidence in the abilities and integrity of others, and distrust as being suspicious of others' agenda, capabilities or integrity. He says that increased trust among co-workers produces increased speed of efficiency and a decrease in cost because people are able to get more things done.

What difference does it make if you have an organization with a lack of trust? People spend energy holding onto their negative feelings toward each other rather than working productively on the job. They spend time accusing each other of hidden agendas and then doing research to prove or disprove each other's intentions. In short, they spend time focusing on the negative issues and less on the work itself. They may simply do the work without giving anything more. Subsequently, the organization is not as healthy or productive as it could be. Studies show that productivity, profits and income are positively or negatively impacted depending on the level of trust in the workplace.

Patrick Lencioni in his popular business books, "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team" and "The Advantage," notes that the first dysfunction of a team is an absence of trust among team members. He writes that members of teams with an absence of trust:

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