How to cultivate trust at work

I have been talking a lot about trust recently, with my last 2 blog posts exploring the topic in particular as to ‘What trust is and why it is important, and ‘Why we get it wrong so often.’ We also began to explore the antidote of this in becoming more aware. Through setting an intention to be trusting, being more aware of our actions and reactions, and the impact of our actions on others.

As a quick re-cap, the future of work is increasingly time and place independent and this can only be successful if organisations have a strong culture of trust. Not only that, but trust at work is a key component of high performing teams and is at the core of an increasing desire for creativity and innovation in business.

So having explored the ‘what’ and the ‘why’, I’d like to now share some practical steps on the ‘how’. Led by you and your actions, these practical steps will help encourage greater levels of trust with your colleagues and will help trust blossom within your culture.

5 steps: how to cultivate trust at work

  1. Cultivate awareness
  2. Set an intention for trust
  3. Know your trust triggers
  4. Create a personal framework of generosity
  5. Hire for trust

Step 1 – Cultivate mindful awareness

Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our happiness.” Viktor Frankl. The foundation to all of the steps is cultivating awareness. Explore a mindfulness practice that helps you become more aware of your intention, your triggers, your actions and move from compulsion to choice in how you respond.

Step 2 – Set an intention for trust

Be committed to trust. Set an intention, quite consciously, to choose trust. Stick up Post-it note reminders, take a breath before every interaction and repeat the word “trust” in your mind 3 times. I recommend that you watch this talk on the Anatomy of trust from the wonderful Brene Brown and reflect on the 7 BRAVING components that she identifies contribute to trust. Become aware of what aspects are most important to you.

Step 3 – Know your trust triggers

Become aware of your triggers and your de-railers that cause you to lose trust – are they stress, control, fear, pressure? Then SBNRR – Stop, Breath, Notice, Reflect, Respond. Become aware of the voices in your head that signal trust is being eroded. Once you are aware of them, you can interrupt the knee jerk reaction and have a more considered response.

Step 4 – A Personal Framework of Generosity

Create a personal framework that is built on the generous thought towards others. When the triggers start humming around trust being compromised – assume positive intent, listen to understand, be curious, find out why there is a disconnect between your expectations and the outcome. Then work towards addressing that, rather than moving into a distrust downwards spiral (making assumptions, feeling a lack of control and stepping into micro management).

Step 5 – Hire for trust

Hire slowly. Take the time to get to know people, not just in a 1 hour sterile interview in a room. Hire people who believe what you believe and share the same values. Get clear on the behaviours that role model trust and ask questions around those. Use Brene Brown’s BRAVING model as inspiration. Pay attention to the behaviour of potential hires outside of the interview, how they engage and interact in the planning phase for a meeting or interview.

These steps are a very brief introduction to how to build trust. If you would like support in taking it further, or a tailored session for you and your team, division or organisation, give me a call or drop me an email using my contact details below.

My next set of blog posts will centre on mindfulness and how to leverage that to support a happier, healthier, more productive workplace. I trust you’ll join me in exploring these!

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Millie Letori Senior Workstyle Consultant
Australia & New Zealand Want to know more? Contact
+61 422 078 671