Renewing our Faith in Trust



Have you noticed?

Trust has been missing in action the last couple of years and the latest report from the Edelman Trust Barometer indicates the patient is still languishing.

Beyond a lingering mistrust in our politicians and our banking institutions, trust remains low in a number of workplaces, contributing to a sense of growing uncertainty and unease, a lowering of confidence and rise in helplessness.

It’s hard to think straight, or even want to if you’re unsure if you’ll still have a job next month, when your efforts go unnoticed and you feel basically no one gives a s*^t.

Trust matters because while emotional intelligence is critical to our mental wellbeing and resilience, it is our social intelligence that enables us to adapt and thrive.

Knowing how to get on well with others isn’t about being BFF with everyone at work but it is about understanding how to create effective working relationships within a team, within a department and of course when dealing with clients. While naturally you need the technical expertise to do your work well, it’s the social aspects of our work that connects us as human beings provides meaning and drives success.

Many business leaders are coming to realise people-centric workplaces do best in our new era Industrial Revolution 4.0. Earlier this year Jeff Weiner CEO of LinkedIn spoke about the findings of the latest LinkedIn survey, calling out the need for the so-called soft skills of effective communication, collaboration and contribution.

What the LinkedIn survey revealed was that while there was a technical skills shortage of 472,000 people, there was a shortage of 1.4 million required for good communication skills.

Our need to connect is as critical to our survival and thrival as our need for air, food and water. Connection creates a feeling of safety, we feel rewarded because we “belong” and it’s much easier to stay focused and on task because we’re not consuming mental energy worrying about the “what if’s?”

This is what contributes to the development of a culture of care, where feeling valued, acknowledged and respected fuels contribution, collaboration and connection.

Digitalisation and automation are removing the need to devote time and energy to those more banal, monotonous and repetitive tasks, freeing you up to be able to think more deeply, to come up with greater insights, to make better decisions based on critical analysis of the information provided and solve problems fast.

For this to work there needs to be greater safety at work, where every individual has the opportunity to speak up, voice a concern or share an idea, thought or new knowledge without the fear of being judged, humiliated or ignored. This translates into the need for safety across an organisation. The humble leader who recognises they don’t have (or need to have) the answer to everything and is willing to ask for help may be pleasantly surprised at the vast collective wisdom already present in the organisation, waiting to be tapped into.

Trust begins by demonstrating your own trustworthiness. It’s about having the courage of your convictions and being willing to move away if your values don’t align with what an organisation stands for.

It’s about building the awareness of the need for open and transparent conversations through the cultivation of growth-oriented mindsets that are solution and possibility focused. But it’s the DOING that counts. When you undertake an action or behaviour that demonstrates your own trustworthiness, this is what shifts thinking patterns and disrupts embedded habits that could be holding you back.

Trust is maintained by being willing to remain vulnerable to our own imperfections, to accept the responsibility that comes with acknowledging when we’ve stuffed up and to acknowledge the very real pain inflicted either intentionally (hopefully not!) or inadvertently on others.

This is about avoiding social pain. When trust has been lost, the key is to ask what happened and what can be done to restore the relationship, because the person hurt by that loss will be asking themselves two questions.

  1. Can this breach of trust be repaired to make the relationship workable in the future?
  2. Is the effort of making this happen worth their while? In other words, was the existing relationship valuable enough to seek recovery?

Without the awareness of how social intelligence works, important relationships can be irretrievably lost along with the associated talent and goodwill.

Smarter thinking is all about finding the balance between our cognition, our ability to regulate our emotions and understanding each other. When we get better at all three, we’ll have restored our faith in trust and each other, which can only lead to a fairer, more equitable world.

So, who do you trust and what can you do to build a trusting eco-system in your place of work?

Dr Jenny Brockis is a medical practitioner, speaker, author and trainer specialising in brain health and mental performance.



Jenny Brockis

Dr. Jenny Brockis is passionate about all things “brain”. She helps businesses and individuals develop and benefit from a brain friendly work culture. As a Medical Practitioner and author of 3 books, Jenny can show you how to improve your mental flexibility and agility necessary to thrive in our increasingly complex world.

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