How To Rebuild Trust In The Workplace? 6 Tips For Managers

How To Rebuild Trust In The Workplace? 6 Tips For Managers

Trust is the foundation of any successful workplace. It’s what helps teams work together effectively, promotes open communication, and drives success. However, trust can be easily broken; once that happens, it can take a long time to repair. Broken trust can lead to decreased productivity, higher employee turnover rates, and a toxic work environment. But don’t worry; building trust is possible with effort and commitment. In this post, we’ll cover how trust can be broken in the workplace, its consequences, and, most importantly, six effective tips for rebuilding it. So if you’re looking for ways to restore trust in your workplace or team dynamics, keep reading!
As Tolstoy noted at the start of his acclaimed novel Anna Karenina, “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” In short, there’s no single way to mess up a situation. While healthy workplaces and teams carry a standard set of features, the causes of distrust can vary greatly. This idea, known as the Anna Karenina principle, helps us understand that there’s no common checklist of things that destroy trust. The root cause can often be different and hard to figure out. Some of the most common causes of lack of trust at work are:
  • Lack of Communication: Poor communication, withholding information, providing ambiguous messages, or not informing employees about important matters can lead to mistrust. Open and transparent communication is essential for building and maintaining trust.
  • Inconsistent Behavior: Your senior told you to prepare a report but discarded it when you shared it. How would you feel? Discontent and annoyed, at the least. When leaders or colleagues exhibit erratic behavior, such as saying one thing and doing another, it can undermine trust. Consistency in actions and words is critical for building and sustaining trust over time.
  • Lack of Accountability: Inconsistent accountability for actions, especially when mistakes occur, can damage trust. A culture that avoids taking responsibility for errors and failures can lead to a lack of trust in the workplace.
  • Micromanagement: Micromanaging employees signals a lack of trust in their abilities. It creates a negative work environment and diminishes employees’ confidence in their skills and the trustworthiness of their leaders. A lack of empathy and understanding for employees’ concerns, challenges, or personal situations can lead to a breakdown in trust. Trust is often built on genuine care and consideration for others, which you must explicitly and repeatedly display.
  • Unfair Treatment: When your team perceives that they are not treated fairly, whether in terms of promotions, rewards, or day-to-day interactions, it can lead to a breakdown in trust. Fair and equitable treatment is essential for a trusting workplace. Feeling unappreciated can lead to less trust between employees and leaders.
  • Hidden Agendas: When individuals or teams have hidden agendas that are not transparent, it can lead to suspicion and a lack of trust. Openness and honesty about goals and intentions are crucial for maintaining trust.
  • Confidentiality Breaches: Sharing confidential information inappropriately or failing to keep sensitive information confidential can damage trust. Employees need assurance that their personal and professional information is handled with care.
Building trust in the workplace is all the more crucial in the present era, as highlighted by the Edelman Trust Barometer. While trust in government and society is falling worldwide, workplaces are often the last remaining bastions of confidence for individuals. For many, it is the sole spot for debate and camaraderie. Losing out on this shot at society leaves employees frustrated and less engaged. MIT Sloan Management Review’s research shows that trust is a critical driver of engagement. Trusting employees are 260% more motivated to work, have 41% lower absenteeism rates, and are 50% less likely to look for another job. On the other hand, roughly 1 in 4 workers don’t trust their employer. But, most employers overestimate their workforce’s trust level (by almost 40%.) Hence, the imperative falls on managers to focus on rebuilding trust at work as soon as they spot the signs. Some signs of a lack of trust in the workplace can include:
  • People not sharing information or collaborating openly
  • Employees avoiding eye contact or being hesitant to speak up in meetings
  • Team members working in silos rather than as part of a cohesive group
  • A lack of transparency in decision-making processes or communication
  • Gossiping or rumors spreading throughout the workplace
  • Micromanagement by managers or an over-reliance on control and rules
  • High turnover rates or low employee engagement and morale.
If you notice these signs, addressing them with your team to foster a more positive and trusting work environment is essential. Building trust takes time and effort, but it is vital for creating a healthy and productive workplace culture. Read more here: 10 powerful ways of building trust in the workplace that managers love
Rebuilding trust in the workplace can be daunting, but it’s essential to regain a positive work environment. The first step is acknowledging the issue and taking responsibility for any actions that may have caused distrust. It requires being honest with yourself and your team about what has happened and not blaming others. It takes courage, but admitting fault shows that you are committed to making things right and is crucial for gaining trust.

Acknowledge the Issue

As per a PwC report, about half of employees (54%) report experiencing a trust-damaging event. Over half (53%) report leaving the company after the incident. This data should raise alarm bells for managers and make them open to acknowledging a lack of trust when it occurs. The experience can be uncomfortable, but it will surely help your bottom line. When trust is broken in the workplace, knowing where to begin when trying to rebuild, it can be challenging. However, the first step is always acknowledging the issue at hand. Leaders should take responsibility for any actions or behaviors that may have contributed to the loss of trust and offer a genuine apology. Creating a safe space where employees feel comfortable sharing their concerns, feedback, and feelings honestly is essential. Active listening and collaboration are critical components of this process, ensuring everyone feels heard and that solutions are identified together. Rebuilding trust takes effort, but acknowledging the issue is the first step toward creating a more positive and productive work environment.

💡Pro tip: Think about a problem your team is experiencing. how might broken trust be contributing to the difficulty? It will help you visualize all the affected areas where you need to work.

Make a commitment to change

When trying to rebuild trust in the workplace, committing to change is essential. Acknowledging past mistakes and taking responsibility for any actions that may have contributed to the loss of trust can help create a plan of action for rebuilding relationships. In addition, it’s essential to communicate openly and honestly with colleagues, listen to their feedback, and consistently follow through on commitments. Remember, rebuilding trust takes patience and effort from all parties involved, but committing to change is essential to repairing damaged relationships and regaining trust.

Address the root cause

Identifying the root cause of trust issues in the workplace is crucial for effective rebuilding. Leaders should take proactive measures to encourage open and honest conversations with employees, either individually or through surveys, to gain valuable insight into the underlying problems. Once the root cause is identified, leaders should take action to address it swiftly and directly by implementing policies that promote transparency and accountability. Moreover, they should consistently demonstrate trustworthy behavior and actively listen to employee concerns to rebuild trust over time.

Take responsibility for rebuilding trust with your team

Taking responsibility for any actions or mistakes contributing to the breakdown of trust is essential to rebuilding it. When trust is lost, it’s easy to shift blame onto others or make excuses for one’s behavior. However, this only worsens the situation and further erodes trust. By owning up to one’s role in the situation and expressing genuine remorse, damaged relationships can begin to heal. It’s crucial to avoid making excuses and instead focus on what actions can be taken to make things right and prevent similar issues from arising. Following any promises made and being consistent in behavior moving forward is vital in rebuilding trust. Taking responsibility may be difficult, but it is an essential step towards earning back the trust of colleagues and rebuilding positive workplace relationships.

💡Pro tip: PwC suggests managers to align trust to core capabilities and stakeholder expectations. This way, managers can use trust to help build their brand.

Communicate extensively

Effective communication is a crucial aspect of rebuilding trust in the workplace, 72% employees surveyed by PwC agreed. Open and transparent communication helps to avoid misunderstandings and conflicts, making it easier to address trust issues head-on. By actively listening to the concerns and feedback of others, you can gain a better understanding of the root causes of mistrust in your workplace. It’s essential to address these issues respectfully, ensuring everyone feels heard. Regular check-ins with your team can also help to maintain open lines of communication, encouraging a culture of trust and transparency. Communicating effectively, you can help to rebuild relationships with co-workers and management, fostering a more collaborative work environment.

Take action and be consistent

Rebuilding trust in the workplace involves taking action and being consistent. It’s not enough to acknowledge the issue or apologize for past mistakes; one must actively work to make things right and prevent similar problems from arising. It requires following through on promises, staying true to commitments, and maintaining a consistent behavior and communication style. Doing so can demonstrate your commitment to rebuilding trust with your team and set a positive example for others to follow. Remember, restoring confidence takes time and effort, but you can regain credibility and move toward a more productive future by taking action and remaining consistent. Trust is the foundation of any successful workplace relationship. When trust is broken, it can have severe consequences like decreased productivity, morale, and engagement. However, rebuilding trust is possible with a few key steps. You must acknowledge the issue, commit to change, address the root cause, take responsibility, communicate effectively, and take consistent action. It may take time and effort to rebuild trust in the workplace, but it’s worth it for the success of your team and business. 

Interact with your team in effective one-on-one settings to build trust with them.

Build your one-on-one meeting skills with the help of Risely’s assessments.

How do you rebuild trust between employees?

A few vital steps to rebuild trust between employees are:
– Enabling the exchange of thoughts
– Discussing the issues and concerns which led to a breach of trust
– Building accountability in the team
– Addressing the causes and suggesting improvements to avoid the same situation again

What are the four steps to building trust?

The four critical steps to building trust in the workplace are:
– Creating awareness and starting a conversation around trust
– Building a rapport among team members and showing your support
– Strengthening relationships and accountability among teams
– Making sure that actions that break trust are avoided

Other Related Blogs

Patience At Work Is Often Tested. 6 Ways To Strengthen This Essential Quality

Patience At Work Is Often Tested. 6 Ways To Strengthen This Essential Quality In an era ravaged by the unexpected, managers are expected to handle both good and bad situations…

Employee Relations: What is it and Why it Matters

Employee Relations: What is it and Why it Matters A positive employee-employer relationship is crucial for the smooth functioning of any organization. Employee relations are the dynamic between employees and…

10 Proven hacks for Building Trust in the Workplace for Managers

10 Proven hacks for Building Trust in the Workplace for Managers No one likes a trust deficit in the workplace, and unfortunately, it’s all too common. Managers who are ineffective…

The 15 Steps to a Great Manager’s Vocabulary with Tips to Improve

The 15 Steps to a Great Manager’s Vocabulary with Tips to Improve A manager’s vocabulary is essential for understanding the job and developing an effective management style. This blog covers…

Author: Deeksha Sharma

Deeksha, with a solid educational background in human resources, bridges the gap between your goals and you with valuable insights and strategies within leadership development. Her unique perspectives, powered by voracious reading, lead to thoughtful pieces that tie conventional know-how and innovative approaches together to enable success for management professionals.

Exit mobile version