Trust between co-workers, and between a boss and their employee, is crucially important.  Trust is the foundation of good teamwork and collaboration; it creates a sense of belonging and loyalty, and so much more. I spend time in many of our trainings covering this core topic, and while most people agree that it is important to establish trust, when we dig a little deeper, many supervisors don’t know how to measure if they have been effective at building trust or not.

The fact is, an employee likely will not approach a supervisor to express a workplace concern or idea if there is no trust in the relationship. The same is true for the supervisor who will not talk in great detail to an employee they cannot trust. That is why this topic is so foundational, yet it is often difficult to pinpoint where the disconnect is. This good news is, it is surprisingly easy to test whether trust is present in both relationships.

  1. Do your employees come to you to openly voice concerns, share ideas, or talk about something else that requires vulnerability?
  2. Do you talk to your employees and openly voice concerns, share ideas, or talk about something else that requires vulnerability? If the answer is “yes” then there is enough trust in the working relationship. If the answer is “no”, then there is potentially an absence of trust in the working relationship.

Another question to ask yourself is whether the relationship is transactional. A transactional relationship is one where the sole focus of communication is to achieve results. There is little to no relationship building in the interactions. When there is no relationship, there is little to no trust. Of course, in some supervisor/subordinate relationships there is little time for relationship building. Allowing for and intentionally creating time to build relationships is necessary for establishing a positive work environment and achieving organizational effectiveness in Santa Rosa by building a culture that will bolster innovation and productivity.

The final test you can use to see if trust is present in the relationship is as simple as three little words. Does anyone in the supervisor/subordinate relationship use the words “I don’t know” to avoid providing a response to a question? When there is a lack of trust, and lack of psychological safety, and a fear of judgment, people will say “I don’t know” to doge the bullet rather than provide honest answers. When employees are fearful and cannot provide honest responses safely, innovation and creativity are stifled and the ability to establish trust moves just a little further away.

Using these simple questions to test if there is trust can help you at least open the door to building more awareness around your working relationships. Trust is a two-way street, and it is important for both supervisors and their direct reports to identify what they are doing to build it. Once trust is established, problems can be solved, concerns can be aired and addressed, and the company’s maximum organizational effectiveness in Santa Rosa can be achieved.  At the end of our training courses, participants usually walk away feeling like they can assess the level of trust and build more trust in their relationships.

Based in Santa Rosa, California, with satellite offices in Bend Oregon and Boise Idaho, The Personnel Perspective is a full-service HR management consulting firm specializing in human resources, leadership development and training, DEI consulting, and recruiting. The firm’s core belief is that a company achieves organizational excellence through its people. Contact us to learn more: (707) 801-0140.