On the importance of trust

Trust is crucial in any work environment because it fosters a positive and collaborative atmosphere, enables effective communication, and enhances teamwork. When employees trust each other and their leaders, they are more likely to feel secure in their positions and be committed to the organisation's mission and goals. Here are some reasons why trust is important at work:

  1. Builds stronger relationships: Trust creates an environment where employees can build stronger relationships with their colleagues and leaders. When employees trust each other, they are more likely to collaborate effectively, share ideas openly, and work together towards common goals.

  2. Increases productivity: When employees trust their colleagues and leaders, they are more likely to feel safe to take risks and be creative, leading to increased productivity and innovation.

  3. Enhances communication: Trust enables open and honest communication, which is critical in any work environment. When employees trust each other, they are more likely to communicate effectively and address conflicts in a constructive manner.

  4. Fosters teamwork: Trust promotes teamwork and cooperation, making it easier for employees to work together effectively and achieve shared goals.

  5. Improves job satisfaction: When employees trust their colleagues and leaders, they are more likely to feel valued and respected, leading to increased job satisfaction and retention.

Conversely, low trust in organisations can have significant costs, both financial and non-financial. Here are some of the ways in which low trust can impact an organisation:

  1. Decreased productivity: When employees do not trust each other or their leaders, they may be less motivated to work together effectively, leading to decreased productivity and poor performance.

  2. Higher turnover rates: Low trust can lead to high turnover rates as employees may feel unsupported or undervalued, and may seek opportunities elsewhere.

  3. Poor communication: When trust is low, communication can break down, leading to misunderstandings and conflict.

  4. Increased conflict: Low trust can lead to increased conflict, as employees may be less willing to compromise or collaborate.

  5. Reduced innovation: Low trust can stifle creativity and innovation, as employees may be less willing to take risks or share new ideas.

  6. Lower morale: When trust is low, employees may feel demotivated and disengaged, leading to lower morale and job satisfaction.

  7. Damage to reputation: Low trust can damage an organisation's reputation, both among employees and in the broader community, leading to difficulties in attracting and retaining top talent, as well as potential customers.

In summary, low trust in organisations can result in a range of negative outcomes, impacting not only the performance of the organisation but also its reputation and ability to attract and retain top talent. Therefore, building and maintaining trust is essential for the success of any organisation.

The Trust Equation

The Trust Equation is a framework developed by David H. Maister, Charles H. Green, and Robert M. Galford, which helps to understand the various elements that contribute to building trust in a professional relationship. The equation is:

Trust = (Credibility + Reliability + Intimacy) / Self-Orientation

  • Credibility refers to the extent to which you are perceived as knowledgeable and trustworthy in your area of expertise. It includes your professional qualifications, your track record, your reputation, and your ability to communicate effectively.

  • Reliability refers to the extent to which you keep your promises and follow through on commitments. It includes your dependability, consistency, and ability to deliver results.

  • Intimacy refers to the extent to which you are able to create a sense of personal connection and rapport with the other person. It includes your ability to empathise, listen actively, and understand the other person's perspective.

  • Self-Orientation refers to the extent to which you focus on your own interests and needs, rather than those of the other person. The higher your self-orientation, the lower the level of trust you are likely to inspire.

In other words, the more credible, reliable, and intimate you are, and the lower your self-orientation, the more likely you are to build trust with others. The Trust Equation is a helpful tool for understanding what factors contribute to building trust and how to develop them in yourself and in your relationships with others.

You can take the Trust Quotient Assessment, free of charge, here:


The assessment will generate a free report, highlighting your likely areas of strength as well as opportunities for development when it comes to building trust with your colleagues.

Awair provides coaching programmes combined with Hogan Assessments which are designed to support the development of key talent and build trust.

Contact us to find out more about Awair and Hogan Assessments