Article: Restoring trust in workplace – Where healing begins

Employee Relations

Restoring trust in workplace – Where healing begins

Have you ever imagined what it could feel like to lose someones trust? Or, have you lost someones trust recently?
Restoring trust in workplace – Where healing begins

Ram was the senior of George and he trusted George very much. George was a very diligent, efficient and capable employee. Once, Ram was going away on an important meeting with an invaluable client. He asked George to stay back in the office and see that other employees were working diligently. George promised to do this. However, when Ram was away, George received a call from home that he had to reach home for urgency regarding his mother. George didn’t want to go, but he had to leave. 

George trusted the employees and thought that nothing untoward would happen in his absence. However, other employees, on seeing that now George and Ram are not there in the office, became relaxed, spent their time chatting and didn’t complete a very critical project that was meant to be delivered on the same day. As a result, the organization lost a lot of money. Ram felt he was abandoned by George in this critical moment and George lost Ram’s trust even though he had not intentionally done this mistake. This was a case of oversight on the part of George and also, he had become entangled in an unforeseen situation at home.   

Do you think it is possible for George to restore this broken trust?

Restoring trust is like the process of healing. It happens at a very slow pace. It does not happen immediately but needs a lot of genuine effort. It is definitely not one person’s game. It involves effort from both sides to help rebuild it.  

Restoring trust is like the process of healing. It happens at a very slow pace. It does not happen immediately but needs a lot of genuine effort.

Some tips that can help one restore trust in a relationship are:

R- Reframe the Experience  

Now that George has lost Ram’s trust because of this untoward happening, it is important for him to revitalize the relationship by identifying the healing process. In this situation, George can acknowledge his mistake. This shows that he was willing to accept that he was wrong and also that he is willing to heal the wound. This step requires acceptance from both ends. 

E – Ensure Apology

George was genuinely sorry for losing Ram’s trust. A sincere apology can be a good beginning for restoring trust. Of course, it would take a lot more for George to complete the process of healing or restoring trust.

Sincere apologies should be heartfelt, honest and non-manipulative. Many times, the other person may try to challenge or retaliate. It is better to let the other person vent so that they understand that the apology was genuine and not superficial. 

The second step in restoring trust is ensuring there is a genuine apology and by listening to and acknowledging the emotions of the other person.  This is a self-actionable step.

S – Share Information at the right time

Once an apology is rendered, sharing the right information becomes the base of any relationship. George has to put in a genuine effort to heal the broken relationship by communicating in the right way, keeping it transparent and promising not to do it again.

At work, when information is shared the right way, communication is elevated. This includes the art of asking questions, approaching a situation with the right intention and always maintaining a level of integrity. This will make any transaction, transparent. 

The third step in restoring trust is sharing information clearly and having elevated communication frequently.  This is a self-actionable step.

T – Trustworthy

Sharing information at the right time is not enough; George will have to ensure that he keeps up his commitment to Ram. This is the key factor for Ram to know that George has invested in rebuilding their broken relationship. 

Commitment is very important. Otherwise, the wound can reopen and leave behind much deeper scars. When a person fulfills promises and walks the talk, he can then be called ‘trustworthy.’ Consistency is the key.  

The fourth step in restoring trust is becoming trustworthy. This is a self-actionable step.

O – Open to Feedback 

Feedback is very crucial at work. George and Ram will never be comfortable giving and receiving feedback with each other because of their prior experience. 

At work, many situations demand feedback. Being comfortable to accept and give feedback is one of the crucial steps. We often tend to feel uncomfortable when it comes to feedback, whether it’s positive or negative. This can become very hard to give when it is true. However, being genuine is the key. 

The fifth step in restoring trust is being open to feedback. This is a self-actionable step.

R – Respect

Respecting each other’s views is important. The best way for George and Ram to be respectful is by sharing opinions, talking honestly and making decisions together. 

Sharing open feedback is important, but respecting and valuing that feedback is also essential. Respect is one of the most important building blocks for any relationship and is crucial to maintaining a healthy relationship. It plays a vital role in restoring any relationship. 

The sixth step in restoring trust is to demonstrate respect. This is a self-actionable step.

E – Efforts 

George has to put in a mindful effort not to repeat his mistake ever again. Even if it happens unconsciously, he has to be fully aware of it. 

Like we discussed earlier, restoring trust is like healing a physical wound. It is a slow process and happens in baby steps. During the process, effort put into rebuilding the broken trust is the deciding factor. Conscious efforts must be made so that the same behavior isn’t repeated. 

This step requires action from both the ends.  

Regaining trust is easier said than done. It took almost a year for Ram and George to become good friends again. Both of them were willing to work on rebuilding their broken relationship. Our greatest learning here is that if action is taken immediately, the wound and the scars are likely to heal faster. A delay could actually lead to a septic relationship. 

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Topics: Employee Relations, Life @ Work

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