Office banter often turns into gossip, leaving people with crushed feelings and a ton of exposed dirty laundry unless colleagues can truly trust each other. Whether it's keeping a patient's medical history confidential, maintaining a client's financial records or supporting a co-worker who's going through a difficult situation, trustworthiness is an important element in most workplace environments. Without trust, office allies quickly become office enemies.
Honesty is a sign of trust in the workplace. Honesty doesn't mean you say everything that pops up in your mind, or you might wind up with your foot in your mouth. But, it does mean you tell the truth. Co-workers and clients depend on you to make trustworthy decisions based on integrity, or communications and transactions break down, eventually spinning out of control. According to an article by magazine executive Peter Varhol in "Visual Studio Magazine," honest and respectful workplace interactions, and the ability to find fair solutions can help you create a positive work culture. Honest interplay is the only way to establish trusting relationships with co-workers and clients. Loyalty is honesty's first cousin.
Trustworthiness means people can count on you to get the job done -- and get it done right. According to "Forbes," trustworthy leaders get expected results, even if it means doing extra research or committing to a heavier work load. Your colleagues must be able to depend on you to do your part, or you'll lose their confidence and respect. For example, if you're a sales agent but you never make sales calls or meet with potential clients, your boss can't rely on you to generate new business. Or, if you prepare tax returns but never read new tax publications, your clients can't trust that you'll maximize their savings or complete their tax returns properly. You must be solid as a rock so your colleagues can depend on you.
Consistency is the key to a trustworthy workplace. "Forbes" states that consistency is an important part of a reliable work environment, but even well-intended leaders might put out contradictory versions of workplace events. For example, you might express to your subordinates concerns that deadlines won't be met, but tell your boss that everything is right on schedule. Or, you might tell a co-worker that the reason for an employee's exit was market-driven lay-offs, but tell another employee that the reason was poor job performance. Consistency means you tell the same truthful story to everyone.
Without the ability to keep confidences in the workplace, you'll feel like you're walking a slippery slope. Being tight-lipped is the perfect way to show your employees and co-workers that you can be trusted. Plus, you'll be more likely to trust someone you know won't be blabbing your work or personal troubles throughout the office. Whether it's a small issue such as a co-worker's frustration with a client or a larger issue such as an intimate office relationship or company financial troubles, you'll be glad you kept a close watch on your conversations. Trust takes a while to build, but only a moment to destroy.
As curriculum developer and educator, Kristine Tucker has enjoyed the plethora of English assignments she's read (and graded!) over the years. Her experiences as vice-president of an energy consulting firm have given her the opportunity to explore business writing and HR. Tucker has a BA and holds Ohio teaching credentials.