Build a Culture of Trust

Set the Conditions for a Culture of Trust

Trust can be challenging to build yet easy to break, even unintentionally. While no one person determines a culture of trust, leaders have far-reaching influence with their decisions and behaviors.

Frances Frei and Anne Morriss, experts in organizational trust, explain that a leader’s authenticity, logic and empathy determine trust.

Authenticity: Your team experiences the real you.

Logic: Your team knows you can do your job. Your explanation and direction are clear.

Empathy: Your team members believe that you care about them and their success.

When trust is slow to build with the leader and team, or when trust is broken, Frei and Morriss suggest assessing what is affecting the level of trust.

Three Ways to Build a Culture of Trust

Follow through with commitments. When you uphold your commitments, the team learns that what you say is the truth and that you have others’ best interests in mind.

Communicate appropriately. Share information so that everyone has a common understanding and the same expectations. Maintain confidentiality when necessary, especially when others share personal information.

Be respectful. Treat others with courtesy. Show that you are listening–for example, by putting down your phone when having an in-person conversation. Conflict is inevitable; approach it in a healthy way. If you are a leader, help set the conditions for people to speak up and address issues.

Everyone in an organization helps to shape the culture, including the culture of trust. Leaders can set the tone through their character, competence and commitment.


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