“Really listening and suspending one’s own judgment is necessary in order to understand other people on their own terms … This is a process that requires trust and builds trust.”

~ Mary Field Belenky


By Sean Lynch

Trust is a simple concept but widely taken for granted. Where trust exists, things go smoothly. When you showered this morning, commuted to work, or stopped at your favorite coffee shop, you trusted the water company to provide clean water, your transportation to safely convey you to work, and the coffee shop to serve a delicious beverage. You trusted those entities, because of reliable, consistent past performances. How much more challenging, and draining, would your day be if you had to test water from your tap, inspect your transportation thoroughly, and research coffee shops prior to every purchase?

Just as we rely on organizations to provide goods and services, we depend on people at work. We need cooperation, information, and support from co-workers. People are much more likely to share, cooperate and support when they trust. High trust environments enjoy happier people, higher productivity, and stronger teams. High trust workplaces also encourage employees to invest discretionary effort and go the extra mile for each other and customers. And, as leaders, we must earn the trust of those around us to lead effectively.

Are you actively trying to build the trust of your colleagues? The people you trust most are probably people you know best. Fostering trust requires good relationships, consistency and reliability.

Try demonstrating behaviors that show your intentions. Take genuine interest in people around you and build relationships with them. Admit mistakes, accept responsibility, and commit to doing better. If you have conflict with someone, don’t talk behind their back. Go straight to the source and work it out. Keep all commitments, big and small. Communicate openly, honestly, and clearly. When someone needs assistance, help out.

Trust is built a little bit at a time. Small investments in building trust result in smooth sailing and higher performance.

This article was provided courtesy of Lead Star – a premiere leadership development firm. You can learn more about leadership by visiting their website at

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Have you ever been in a situation where trust was broken? What did you or the other party do to rebuild it? Please share below in the comment area.