Trust of Communication


In the book “Trust and Betrayal in the Workplace: Building Effective Relationships in Your Organization” by Dennis and Michelle Reina, the authors describe Trust of Communication as an environment of openness and transparency, where your capacity for trust in self and others increases, your relationships flourish, and your organization’s performance expands.

Trust of Communication allows you and your colleagues to know where you stand with one another and with your shared work. As the trust grows, it paves the way for collaboration and open and candid two-way dialogue, it empowers both of you to give and get the information you need to do your jobs, and it helps create workplace relationships that are positive, foster a sense of community and ultimately a sense of shared purpose.

Michelle and Dennis describe the following behaviors that contribute to Trust of Communication:

  • Share Information.You and others need timely information to tie your efforts to your organization’s purpose and strategy. When information isn’t shared – people feel left out, let down, and betrayed. When information is shared – people develop the clarity they need to do their best work, extend information to others, and enjoy the blossoming of collaborative relationships.
  • Tell the Truth. Your ability to tell the truth is essential for building trust. Truths include personal truths – the truth of your thoughts, opinions, perspectives. The truth about your confidences and vulnerabilities. Sometimes telling the truth can be difficult. The reward for courageous conversations about your thoughts, feelings and perspectives is that you are perceived as authentic and trustworthy.
  • Admit Mistakes. An environment where people feel free to admit mistakes is an environment that inspires innovation. How you respond to your own and other people’s mistakes sets the tone for your relationships and is a key factor in squashing or creating Trust of Communication. You can break trust in how you handle the aftermath of both your own and other people’s errors.
  • Give and Receive Constructive Feedback. People need to know how their performance is being perceived. The vast majority of behavior that breaks trust is unintentional. Giving and receiving constructive feedback is at the core of raising your self-awareness. Requesting feedback – and getting it – can be just as difficult as giving it. When perceptions are not shared and issues don’t get resolved through constructive feedback, the issues of today get lumped together with the issues of yesterday. Issues then grow in magnitude and impact. It’s not so much what you say as how and when you say it.
  • Maintain Confidentiality. When others share private or sensitive information with you, they are demonstrating their trust in you. Respect and honor that trust by not re-sharing the private or sensitive information you received.
  • Speak with Good Purpose. Gossip is the most frequent trust breaking behavior practiced in teams. When you engage in gossip you are sending a message about yourself. You leave doubt in other people’s minds about your trustworthiness. When you hide behind inappropriate humor, sarcasm, gossip, criticize, or shun others, you undermine trust in your communications. Also be careful when venting to others, which can easily turn into complaining, gossiping, and backbiting. Make sure all your communication is with good purpose in mind.

If you wish to be a trusted colleague and enjoy the benefits of Trust of Communication in your workplace, you need to demonstrate the behaviors of a trustworthy colleague. It starts with you!

For other easy to follow and easy to apply suggestions for increasing Trust of Communication in your workplace, I encourage you to read the book: “Trust and Betrayal in the Workplace: Building Effective Relationships in Your Organization” by Dennis and Michelle Reina. In addition, the book provides detailed and tangible tips and scripts for handling various trust in communication issues that arise in the workplace.

Would you like some coaching around building trust in the workplace, call Linda at 416-617-0734 or email

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