Is Re-building Trust Worth the Effort?

By Cindy Vallance

My last blog covered many of the reasons behind the erosion and destruction of trust. Not a very positive topic, I know.

The good news, however, is that once trust has been damaged all may not be lost.

If you have broken someone’s trust in you, the very first step is to assume ownership of your own actions. RECOGNISE where trust may have been broken, ACKNOWLEDGE your actions, ADMIT your lapse, and APOLOGISE to the individual whose trust in you has been shaken.

To re-establish the relationship, it will be important to reaffirm your commitment to the values and goals you share with the other person. It is important to be willing to incur some personal loss as you start by rebuilding basic trust. Sound difficult? Make no mistake, it is. Too hard? That is up to you to decide. Sometimes a third party can assist with this.

Whether you work directly with the other individual or through a third party, when it comes to managing distrust and working to re-establish trust, it is important to agree explicitly on expectations, deadlines and agreed remedies. Agree how these will be monitored or verified and work to increase awareness of each others’ actions.

It will be important to openly acknowledge areas of difference and incompatibility – agreement cannot be achieved on everything but it should be possible to minimise the interference of incompatible areas in daily activities, particularly if agreement can be achieved about overall shared goals and values.

Looking back, It is hard to believe I have devoted no less than 8 blogs to the topic of trust. But then again, I suppose it is because I feel so strongly about this topic and we really don’t bring it into the work place very much. Yet so much rides on trust. And it all starts with each of us.

The quote I began this series on trust with was: “You must trust and believe in people or life becomes impossible. ” Anton Chekhov

No one said any of this would be easy but then again, if you would like a reason to try building trust with others in a more contemporary quote, Canadian ice hockey great Wayne Gretzky did say “you miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.”


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