According to the article “Who Can you Trust?” by David Desteno, scientific research shows that people’s accuracy in deciding if another can be trusted tends to be only slightly better than chance. Yet, this is not because trustworthiness is completely unpredictable. In fact, guidelines most of us useto make such predictions are far from perfection.
We place too much emphasis on reputation and perceived confidence, ignoring the fact that human behavior is always sensitive to context and can often be better assessed by our own intuition. The decision whether to trust someone is a process which can be described, analyzed and modified.
1. Tolerating the risk
Factors related to personality and culture can be modified. You need to be aware of their existence and to work actively on them. What is more, in a situation of a higher risk for the company you should work out precautionary measures.
2. The authority of the employer
If the employer has a high standing with the employees it is easier for them to trust the employees. There are additional tools of discipline at their disposal. Should the employee violate trust, they can be punished not just through financial means and lay-off but also by losing a positive image in the eyes of the boss they respect. Being a respected figure in the eyes of the employees helps to gain and maintain their trust.
3. Specific factors related to the given situation
By planning and foreseeing difficult events one can minimize their negative consequences. Early planning enables to “put out fires” in the longer term. By predicting possible failure and taking preventive measures, you will be more likely to take risks linked to trusting employees and co-workers.
4. Caution concerning the current situation of the company
When the company is endangered, managers are less likely to tolerate risks than when the company is on top. This is the reflection of the following principle: the higher the stakes, the weaker the trust. Caution in difficult times is a natural mechanism, nevertheless by selecting efficient and competent employees you can minimize this effect.
Interestingly enough, people are more prone to trust those who are similar to them as far values, personality traits and affiliation to a similar cultural, religious group and gender are concerned. This is why a workaholic manager might be particularly suspicious towards an employee who cares greatly for their family. Common values or principles, which are the cornerstone of the organization (e.g. the interest of the employees and the clients is most important), can bind the employees together.
Organizations which have a strong community spirit stand out for their honesty, openness and integrity.
6. Convergence or divergence of interests of the employer and the employee
A clear, transparent and precise decision making process contributes to building an atmosphere of trust.
A caring attitude of the manager towards the employees not only contributes to trust but also to loyalty and the community spirit.
8. The competences of employees
The skills and productivity of employees are of key importance in developing the trust of the manager who delegates tasks. On the other hand, the integrity of the employees is fundamental for the organization’s credibility in the eyes of potential clients. Investing in training programs for employees and matching the job with the high skills increases the level of trust to the employee.
9. Predictability and diligence
You should only promise the employee what you can really deliver. If you fail, give an honest explanation.
10. Open communication
It is important to go beyond the typical working pattern. Care for the relationship not only on the employer-employee level but also on the human level e.g. in the form of team building meetings.