To Trust or Not To Trust

When you are operating a business, or hiring employees, or even working as part of a team, trust is necessary. The difficulty is knowing when to trust, whom to trust, and whom not to trust. Brene Brown, in her book, Dare to Lead, talks about the types of behaviours that earns trust.  She contrasts that with behaviours that should warn you that the person should not be trusted.  In researching the topic of trust from sites such as Psychology Today and  the Power of Positivity, I discovered that all the various articles that are written on trust follow a common thread.  Trust is not a given and it is important that you develop discernment in who you extend trust to and who you do not.  This discernment is as important in your business or work-site as it is in your personal life.

Just because a person is in authority over you in the role of a supervisor or team leader does not necessarily mean they can be trusted.  If a person tells stories that are not theirs to tell it is a signal that they cannot be trusted.  Another warning sign is when people say one thing but then do something totally different.  People who change their minds about their beliefs depending on who they are with will also be people who you need to be cautious around.


Sometimes people change their minds because they are afraid of being who they really are so have become chameleons in order to survive in a world they see as unsafe.  For people to feel safe there needs to be an atmosphere where there is no judgement, no interrupting when a person is sharing their ideas and no unsolicited advice giving. People need to know that when there is a team meeting they are safe to share and that what they share will be respected.

According to Brené Brown, "Most people feel a need to "manage" interpersonal risk to retain a good image, especially at work, and especially in the presence of those who formally evaluate them." For people to be vulnerable and to trust others they cannot be penalized for mistakes - they can be accountable for fixing mistakes but must never be made to feel small. Do not trust people who give constant criticism, become defensive when anyone contradicts or disagrees with them or treats others with contempt. Another behaviour to watch out for is stonewalling where the person refuses to communicate or cooperate to solve issues.

Another important part of trust is having effective boundaries so people know what is okay, what is not okay and why. Vulnerability without boundaries ends up being confessions, or manipulation and can create fear and anxiety. When sharing anything you need to know why your are sharing. You need to understand your role, recognize any professional boundaries that you need to have and then be clear with what your intentions and expectations are.

Never give up on trying to build an atmosphere of trust with those you work with. And if you are building your business - utilize the listed principles to find the correct people to have on your team. The atmosphere where there is trust is one where people thrive and without trust people put up walls to protect themselves and the business will suffer.

Works Cited

Brown, Brene. dare to lead. USA. Random House. 2018