The Daily Challenge: Do you have the trust you need at work?


Trust is a currency that builds over time. Here's how you can grow it faster.

unnamed (4).jpg

Trust, a Currency.

Time to read: 7 mins 

We rely on trust on a daily basis. From the strangers we encounter during our commute to the coworkers we interact with every single day.

Trust is a currency that helps us make transactions of all types. We trust that drivers on the road are going to follow the law. We trust others to do what they say they’re going to do.

We trust that the barista at our favorite coffee shop is going to give us the coffee we just paid for.

Thanks to social norms and laws, these examples aren’t blind trust. We trust that people will (for the most part) follow the law because the consequences of not doing so are quite high. 

Trust is a key ingredient in ensuring positive and productive relationships at work. Trust is the currency that helps us complete our jobs without friction. But have you ever stopped to consider where this valuable currency comes from? Or how you can create more of it?

Where does trust come from?
Initially we trust others because of the parameters that are setup. You can likely trust your new coworkers because they have reputations to protect (what Kramer and Tyler refer to as “calculus-based trust”). 

After a while, however, you start to trust people based on their previous actions. You can start to trust them because they have repeatedly met or exceeded your expectations. This is often referred to as “knowledge-based trust”.

Eventually, knowledge-based trust solidifies into “identification-based trust”, where “mutual understanding is developed to the point where parties can act on each other’s behalf (Paliszkiewicz, 2011)."

The idea is that you move through these three levels of trust throughout the development of a work relationship. At first you trust each other because there are parameters in place to protect you from harming one another. Eventually your experiences together form a tighter bond. You trust each other because you can predict behavior based on past experience. And, finally, you know each other’s preferences so well that you can even make decisions on their behalf. 

Today, take a few minutes to consider how you are currently building trust with new stakeholders and how you might be able to strengthen the trust in these relationships over the coming months.

Step 1. Identify your stakeholders. This might be a new client, a coworker, your manager or perhaps a new direct report. Placing an emphasis on developing trust early will serve you both well in the months and years to come. 

Step 2. Identify the depth of trust within these relationships. Do you trust each other because you are giving each other the benefit of the doubt (“calculus-based trust”) or because you have worked together and witnessed consistent behavior (“knowledge-based trust”)?

Step 3. Create opportunities for interaction. We build trust through shared experiences. Working on a small assignment together is a great way to start building trust. Sometimes you may not have specific shared work. In these cases, consider simply grabbing lunch together. These interactions have long-term benefits and can lead to a more enjoyable working relationship.

Pro Tip: Trust is developed over time. Start now.

How to Build Trust at Work (Balance)
Trust in Relationships (Diamond Management Consulting)
How to Restore Trust at Work (PsychologyToday)

Loving the Daily Challenge? Subscribe here.