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10 Behaviors that Erode Trust in the Workplace

Are you guilty?

Would you say your workplace has a high trust culture? On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being highest, how would you rate trust at your firm? If your answer is any less than an 8, there is work to be done. Yet, trust can be elusive. It’s not a situation where people wake up in the morning and say, “I’m not going to trust today!” It’s more of a feeling that’s present or not and is built or eroded with small actions over time.

Many studies demonstrate why businesses should care about trust. Data shows it can impact the top and bottom lines.

  • Teams characterized by high levels of trust are 2 times more likely to be innovative.
  • Team members who trust their colleagues are 12 times more likely to collaborate and share information.
  • Businesses with high levels of trust have a 40% lower attrition rate.
  • Firms with high levels of trust experience 74% higher engagement.

I typically offer steps my readers can take to improve a situation, but because creating an environment of distrust isn’t often intentional, today I want to share 10 behaviors that erode trust so you can catch yourself (or other people managers) inadvertently doing any of these things.

Lack of transparency: You don’t explain why you made a certain decision, especially if it is counter to the general opinion of your team.

Micromanagement: Constantly monitoring or controlling every communication or decision made, e.g. being copied on everything.

Lack of accountability: You don’t take responsibility for your mistakes or hold yourself accountable for a less than favorable decision.

Inconsistent communication: You don’t communicate with your team members regularly or only give partial information.

Playing favorites: You emphasize working with your “go to” team members over others.

Lack of empathy: You don’t take your team members’ feelings or perspectives into consideration.

Lack of support: You are constantly “busy” and don’t make yourself easily available to assist your team members.

Taking credit for others’ work: You don’t acknowledge team members’ ideas or contributions and let others assume it came solely from you.

Excessive feedback: In the spirit of “helping,” you criticize every little thing a team members does, even if it’s simply a different style from yours.

Breaching confidentiality: You share sensitive or confidential information without approval.

Pay attention to your own behavior over the next couple of weeks and catch if you are intentionally engaging in any of these acts. Your team members will appreciate it.

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