The art of building trust at your workplace
Author: Pho Thi My Hanh – Student ID: s3360664
Just finished a year-long journey at university, grasp all of your energy and rush into the workplace with the eagerness to prove yourself, but then stuck at the bottom, and wonder why all of these happening? The answer may not be what you have expected, but is utterly true in most cases of fresh graduates. You have crumbled at the very first stage of building trust within your organization.
A talk with Ms Amy Truong (Figure 1), Assistant Brand Manager of Clear Men at Unilever, who has had 4 years of experience in Marketing and Branding, unveiled the secret in building trust within organization: “cherish every chance given even if it is the smallest”.
Figure 1: Ms Amy Truong, Assistant Brand Manager of Clear Men at Unilever
(Photo taken by Author 2014)
Trust, what is it?
“To me, trust is shaped in 2 forms: trust in one’s capability of delivering the work, which can be evaluated via your performance at work; and trust in one’s ethics when solving problems or conflicts”, said Amy. “Will you be the one who pour all the blames on others when conflicts flame, or the one who take responsibility to extinguish the fire?”
Figure 2: One of the forms of trust is the trust within one’s capability in delivering the work.
Will you be the one who just talk the talk, or the one who can walk the walk?
(Reproduced from QuoteKo 2013)
Put it simply, “trust is the belief in the integrity, character, and ability of a leader” (Starnes, Truhon & McCarthy 2010).
Thanks to trust, people can concentrate on their work and contribute their best to the company (Stawiski, Deal & Ruderman 2010). As Amy believes, not like Accounting or Finance, where everything can be justified by statistics, in such an industry like Creative one, sometimes, things are very subjective. Different people have different tastes. “One may say this artwork look beautiful, but another can say the very opposite things. If you want the work to flow, you must trust your managers’ competence in evaluating your artwork; and believe they will not turn their backs and say nasty things of your work to others”, shares Amy. “Only then can you deliver your best performance at work.”
In other words, “trust is the lubrication that makes it possible for organizations to work”, quoted from Warren Bennis (Hitch 2012). Despite its imperativeness, trust within organization is, in fact, very “complicated and fragile”; hence, hard to be obtained (Galford & Drapeau 2003). “While it usually exists only one ultimate goal between client and its company, there can be many goals and interests living in one organization,” Amy explains. “Benefits of one department, sometimes, conflict with other departments’ ones; and there are many people willing to sacrifice others to protect themselves.” As a result, in most companies, trust within organization, is often trampled upon in the fierce race of satisfying interests.
How can we gain trust in such a place?
“I was new in there. No one knew me, let alone my ability. No one wanted to take risk assigning me ‘big tasks’ since there were high chances that they must cover the work for me,” Amy recalled the time when she first entered Unilever, “I had to do even some ‘nameless’ work. It was really annoying, of course.”
She shared frankly. “Many fresh graduates failed at this stage. They dream to do ‘big’, and refuse to cover these small things; but they don’t know that by startling their bosses with these tasks, they made it half way proving their abilities and ambitions.”
Therefore, the first tip to build trust within organization Amy gives is to finish every task you are assigned, even if it is the smallest. “Don’t hesitate to do them because, usually, your managers will evaluate you through these little chores’.”
Secondly, be clever. Know your corporate cultures well, know your managers better; and know your colleagues the best. As Amy explains, in the workplace, there is high chance you have to work co-operatively and interactively with your colleagues. Do not make the mistake of winning the heart of your managers at the expense of ‘the bond’ with your peers. “You must learn to compromise with your colleagues for the best outcome of your work since relationships are also crucial if you wish to climb high in your career”, said Amy.
What to take in this 600-word article?
“There are many talented people out there, but not many can make their marks. Part of the reason lies in their abilities of building trust,” Amy believes. Hence, for young graduates, the sound advice is to finish all the “little chores” with your passion because they are the first bricks in your skyscraper of trust.
Galford, R & Drapeau, A 2003, ‘The enemies of trust’, Harvard Business Review, February, ProQuest database.
Hitch, C 2012, ‘How to Build Trust in an Organization’, The Power of Experience, UNC Executive Development.
Lavalle, N 2013, ‘You can’t trust the mortgage paper trail’, image, 4closureFraud, 13 April, viewed 9 January 2014, <http://4closurefraud.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/trust.png>.
QuoteKo 2013, ‘Trust Quotes for Quote God’, image, Quoteko, viewed 10 January 2014, http://quoteko.com/trust-picture-quotes-sayings-with-images.html
Starnes, BJ, Truhon, SA & McCarthy, V 2010, ‘A Primer on Organizational Trust’, Human Development and Leadership Division, ASQ Quality Press.
Stawiski, S, Deal, JJ & Ruderman, M 2010, ‘Building Trust in the Workplace: A key to Retaining Women’, Center for Creative Leadership, April, ProQuest database.