How to build Trust in Organizations!

Is there a culture of Trust in your organization? What % of employees trust your Leaders?

Trust is such an important ingredient in all relationships and in the words of Stephen Covey, “Trust is the glue of life”. The presence or absence of Trust can determine the outcome of change initiatives, leadership success, collaboration at work, teamwork, engagement of employees, employee recruitment & retention and business success. We can say that where this is more trust, the possibilities of success are higher.

Even though Trust is so important, there is a trust deficit in most organizations. A survey by Teamblind shows that 70% of employees don’t trust HR and this varies across organizations, a study by CEIBS shows that there is a correlation between team’s work outcomes and the level of mutual trust between the leader and members and a research by Edelman 75% of employees globally trust their employers to do the right thing and expect trust to be earned by the employers.

So what is Trust? In my view the best definition of Trust was from Douglas McGregor and he shares that Trust is when someone will not deliberately or accidentally or consciously or unconsciously take advantage of you and Trust means that you can put your situation, status, self-esteem, your job, your career and even your life in the hands of someone. Trust is such a precious and heavy responsibility.

So what can we do to increase Trust in organizations? There is no standard recipe and it’s up to each one of us to find out what will work best for you to become a Trustworthy Leader but there are a few factors which could be leveraged to build trust.

T – Top – Trust begins at the top and when leaders lead the Trust agenda in an organization through their behaviours and actions, it becomes an established norm in the organization. Authentic Leaders who are committed to establishing a Trustful organization through their daily credible behaviours are able to appreciate the trust levels in organizations.

R – Reliability – Trust is reinforced by the reliability of a leader by “saying what you do and doing what you say”. This cannot be a onetime activity but the behaviour pattern of a leader.

U – Trust begins with U = You. Leaders need to reflect on whether they trust themselves and that is the foundation for trusting others and for others to trust the leader. It is also important to understand that Trust is not about focusing on You, but on the other person.

S – Shared Definition – There should be a shared definition of Trust in an organization. If the definition and understanding of trust differs between leaders and members, then there is a challenge.

T – Transparency – Every effort should be taken to avoid hidden agendas and ensuring availability of all required information to people to facilitate transparency by leaders.

So what’s the level of trust in your organization? and What are you doing to increase trust in your organization?

Ragland Gamaliel

Director – Institute of Organization Effectiveness


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