Achieve business success through growing a high-performing team

Trust is key

Welcome to another episode of the Work Wonders podcast (listen here) where we discussed trust in the workplace which is such an important aspect of professional life.


This is a topic we’ve wanted to create an episode on for a while, and we’ve touched on it various other episodes, particularly the guest interview episode with Sallina Jeffrey.


We started our discussion thinking about a powerful story Simon Sinek tells about working with the US Marines and he compares the importance of trust in their team and owning your own mistakes.


What is trust? Why is it important in a workplace?


Trust within a team is a measure if we believe that our colleagues are going to act with integrity, and they’re going to be competent about what they’re doing and we can trust that they will do what they say they are going to.


It’s not something that happens overnight. It takes a while for it to build.


What does a high trust environment look like?


  • less incidents of misconduct, disagreements between employees, poor performance etc.
  • healthy communication between all levels of the team
  • team members collaborating more with each other
  • employees doing their job well
  • an environment where people feel safe to speak up, even when they make a mistake
  • expectations are clear from all parties (procedures, performance indicators etc.)


Here’s an example again from Simon Sinek where he gives a great comparison of the same employee across two different workplaces.


Trust will influence everything from the way you interact as a team from a person to person level, or as a team daily as well as performance and meeting goals.


How can you create it?  


Communication is key. If you’re a regular listener you’re probably thinking, here they go again! 😊 But we’re not talking about just passing on a message. We’re talking about communicating in an open way, being open to questions, being honest about what you’re sharing, respectful, consistent and accepting feedback.


If a manager is brave enough, let’s say during a team meeting, to say to their staff:

  • What do you think about this?
  • Is there another way that we should approach this?
  • What are you seeing?
  • What have you heard?
  • What’s new in the industry?
  • What’s our customers saying?


and being brave enough to get the whole picture from all the members of the team, the good and the bad feedback.


Group collaboration paves the way towards reaching goals, high performance and new ideas.


If you think of another sort of team like a sports team – fundamentally they’re trying to do the same thing as a team in a work environment. They’re all working together to try and reach their goal of winning the game or series or whatever it may be. They need to collaborate and trust each other too, for example if I am going to kick the ball to my team mate, I need to be able to trust that you’re going to be there to get.



How can you rebuild it if you need to?  


What destroys trust? It’s really the opposite of all of the above.


  • Inconsistency
  • Unreliability
  • Lies
  • Secrets
  • Micromanagement
  • Lack of communication

will all destroy trust over time.


Are you building trust or destroying trust by saying you’re going to do something? Because if you don’t follow through and are not reliable, you are telling people you are not trustworthy.


Have you ever worked with or known someone like that? Chances are you have come across someone like that and you learnt pretty quickly not to trust that person because they weren’t really genuine.


Looking from the other perspective, if an employee isn’t doing what they are required to do and a manager doesn’t feel they can trust them with the responsibilities of their job, trust is broken.


The thing is, it’s really easy to break trust. It can happen in an instant. But it takes a long time to rebuild, and sometimes can’t be rebuilt at all.


The best thing to do is:

  1. act straight away – don’t wait and hope the problem will fix itself
  2. work to understand the impact of what broke the trust (be curious)
  3. acknowledge that; and
  4. be willing to apologise


That’s a hard thing to do because it requires vulnerability. But it is what’s required to rebuild trust because if the person can hear you in that moment and feel you’re being genuine, they will feel safe to begin trusting again.


Trust is a two-way street. It sounds obvious but both people need to trust the other. Not just one person feeling great about the other.


In summary  


  • Trust is very important – sometimes with things like this, it’s easy to think “yeah, well that’s a given”, and we’d like to think that it is, but it’s quite often the things are the most obvious that can really fall down if you’re not paying attention to them.
  • Building trust takes time, consistency, authenticity and clear two-way communication.
  • If you’re providing a high trust environment for your team, you will be rewarded with a high performing team, you will see the results you are looking for, and maybe even more!
  • Even the simplest act like handing over a piece of work from one person to another person requires trust.
  • Trust is a two-way street – again, it sounds obvious, but if you’re going to trust an employee to do XYZ in their job for you, they need to be able to trust in you as well. They need to trust their job is valued, it means something and they are contributing towards ABC goals.
  • So there is no magic bullet to get trust in your workplace. It is the everyday things, the big and the small things, it is ethics, values and consistency.


What role has trust played in your business and in your working career?

What experience have you experiences have you had when it hasn’t worked?

Can you trust your employees?

Do you think your employees feel like they can trust you?

Or are there areas where you think you could do a little better? 


And if there are, keep at! It can always be improved.


And as always, we are here to help.



If you’re curious about exploring trust in the workplace even further, here are some relevant articles and videos:

In this video, Simon Sinek talks about his work with Navy Seals and how they compare trust with performance and why they would choose trust over performance.

In this video, Simon Sinek answers the question how trust motivates staff and he talks about what trust does for teamwork and the importance of environment.



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