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Growing Trust at Work

As we continue to examine the eight Pillars of Culture of Mid South Rehab, we are ready to look at TRUST. I don’t think it is a revelation that trust is a very fragile thing. It is hard to develop and even harder to maintain. Our standards are high. It doesn’t take much for someone to break a trust with us and it is very difficult to repair. According to Sabrina Romanoff Ph.D., “Trust is the foundation of relationships because it allows you to be vulnerable and open up to the person without having to defensively protect yourself.” When we are comfortable with being vulnerable, we are comfortable enough to be ourselves, to think and act outside of the box, and take risks. This creates a positive, productive and comfortable workplace.

Trust at work, just as in a personal relationship, must go both ways. In our therapeutic world, patients must trust us to be caring and competent so they will seek out our services. We must trust them to keep appointments and complete assigned tasks for therapy to be beneficial.

For our company to be most effective, our employers must trust team members and team members must trust leadership. Seems like trust is an essential part in everything we do.

So, with trust being so important, why is it so hard to build and maintain? It’s likely that each of us has had trusts broken over time. We have all been hurt or disappointed by someone. The more of those experiences we have had, the more sensitive we have become to avoid being hurt again. We tend to close ourselves off more and more and let fewer people in. That makes relationships, personal or professional, more difficult to form. Once we are hurt by someone it makes it very difficult for that trust to be restored. (I hope you analyze where your trust levels are and how that impacts your relationships – that is essential to self-awareness)

In the workplace, we are around others with similar experiences. We begin to share stories of broken trust and often bond from that. From there we can quickly form cultures of distrust, which has a tremendous impact on office culture and employee engagement. It is amazing how quickly a negative workplace can develop. So how can we grow a culture of trust on our team? I have two short, but difficult steps we can follow:

  1. Make and keep promises- this is a proactive step we can take, that we have complete control over.

  2. Do what you say you’re going to do

  3. Be careful what you say yes to. It is ok to say “NO”

  4. Control what you can control – Manage you. Model appropriate thinking and behavior and then gradually expand that influence throughout your team. Remember, racehorses wear blinders for a reason. It eliminates distractions and keeps them focused on the finish line. We could learn a lot from a few old racehorses.

As I have said before if we want to create a more trusting work environment, be more trustworthy. Model the behavior we are looking for in others.

This week be the change you are looking for in others,


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