If increasing trust within your workplace is one of your aims, may I humbly suggest that you are aiming at the wrong target. Trust is not the issue.

For years, I have listened to individuals say “trust me.” There is an appropriate response to this request and it isn’t, “Why?” although that is the response most often given.

The best reply to a request for trust, or the statement “trust me” is, “To do what?”

This redirects our aim from one of trust to a goal of “trustworthiness.”

It does us no good at all to seek to increase trust in individuals or entities that are not trustworthy. What we really want to do is increase or improve upon trustworthiness.

Trustworthiness can be broken down into three parts:

  1. Reliability
  2. Competency
  3. Honesty

I know many individuals, who are reliable to show up to work on time, but I wouldn’t trust them to baby sit an infant; they just aren’t competent in this area.

Likewise, I know workers who arrive on time to do their work and are competent at performing that work, but I am not about to leave my credit cards and cash lying out unattended and in plain sight of these workers. The issue is trustworthiness.

When broken down into these three considerations you will find it much easier to identify areas for improvement, since we can now speak in terms of improving reliability, competency and honesty compared to the vague “improve trust in the workplace.”

The next time the issue of trust comes up, think in terms of “to do what” instead of “why.” Think in terms of trustworthiness.

Jeff Mehring
Regional Director of Safety & Security
Wheaton-Franciscan Healthcare

Vistelar Group –