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Anxiety or Trust

Anxiety or Trust

Trust is something that can be aided or destroyed by organizational culture. In companies that value and instill trust, you see employees willing to innovate, take risks, and collaborate effectively. On the other side of the spectrum, when trust isn’t there, you see competition rather than collaboration; you see adversarial relationships develop right and left. In short, it becomes every man for himself.
The culture of your organization can either raise or reduce anxiety levels. You increase them with threats of termination or humiliation, while you can reduce anxiety levels with transparency, communication, and openness.
Most people don’t realize that trust and anxiety are related, and they are inversely proportional. Trust and distrust are part of the human condition and effect relationships of all kinds at all levels. No matter what type of organization you manage, anxiety will always undermine what trust there is. Conversely, and not surprisingly, trust reduces anxiety. The simple truth is that the need for trust is a function of our biology.
There are five traits necessary in a culture of trust:
  • Being vulnerable
  • Being responsive immediately and clearly
  • Being forgiving
  • Being fair
  • Keeping things simple
Vulnerability forces you to take risks. Responsiveness makes you aware of and attentive to how people around you respond to what you do. Forgiveness lets you focus on the future without being stuck in the past.
Simplicity, for its part, allows everyone in the culture to understand and behave consistently with the cultural norms.
Are you helping or undermining trust in your company? At any point in the day, you can do things that build trust or do something that undermines it.
The question becomes, what are the behaviors you need to focus on to shift your culture from anxiety to trust?