I’ve been thinking a lot about trust lately and how crucial it is for us as individuals as well as leaders. In order to get the most out of our relationships, both personal and professional, we need to trust those around us as well as be perceived as trustworthy people.

Especially in our businesses where it’s getting harder to hang on to our highest quality employees, fostering an environment of trust is critical for both keeping people happy and getting the highest quality of work.

Here are a few ways you can display trusting behavior yourself, as well as encourage your peers and employees to do the same.

Reduce anxiety levels. Being on edge makes others on edge. It produces a feeling of ‘anything could happen at any time, and when it does it probably won’t be good.’ Your employees won’t feel free to be themselves if they feel like they have to walk on eggshells to avoid conflict. And unfettered people, comfy in their own skin always do the best work, regardless of industry.

Break the fourth wall. Though it is a theatre term and though we don’t necessarily want to consider work a performance, it’s important to occasionally excuse yourself from the duties of work to approach others on a purely human level. However you choose to do it, show your human side and warmly accept others when they do the same.

You’re fallible: admit it. This is not to say be self-deprecating. But when you make a mistake, admit it graciously. Expecting perfection from yourself and others inevitably leads to disappointment and frustration. Doubt can spread like a weed. It’s okay to have insecurities, but try not to project them onto others.

When it comes to encouraging institutional change, it all starts with obtaining an accurate view of the current state of things. How trusting of an environment are the places where you live and work? Do you ever get the sense that your employees are walking on eggshells? What can you do today that displays genuine trust? If you’re having a hard time getting an unbiased view, the right coach can help you widen your perspective.

If you have any questions or comments about how to encourage trust at work, let me know in the comments or email me directly at scott@doubledareyou.us.

photo credit: A Scene From The Ice Harvest via photopin (license)