Podcast Episode 43: How to Build Trust in the Workplace

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Trust is the basis for almost everything you do. If you are new to the team, or in a wholly remote environment building trust is essential for moving forward. Your effectiveness as a leader will be graded on your ability to inspire and empower others so that they have the capacity to create and implement change. 

In this episode we’ll discuss:  

  • Why trust is the most important capital you have as a leader
  • The role feedback plays in building trust
  • How microaggressions can lead to a break of trust
  • The 7 things you can do to build or repair trust

Building trust is probably the most important capital you have.

Mentioned on the show: 

Amplify Your Strengths Group Coaching Program

Podcast: The Career Refresh episode #42: A Fresh Perspective on Executive Presence

Book: The No Rules Rules: Netflix Culture Reinvention

Follow @jillGriffinOfficial on Instagram daily inspiration. 

Visit JillGriffinCoaching.com for free content and strategies to refresh your career.

Read the Transcript
Hey everyone, welcome back. I’m glad you are here. 

It’s hard to believe it’s the middle of December and we are getting ready to finalize our first season of the Career Refresh podcast. If you had said to me a year ago that I was going to research and create a podcast series by myself I wouldn’t have believed you. Crazy what we can do when we focus and  intentionally put our minds towards it, right? 

I have a few more episodes in the works to round out season one so be sure to check those out. And let me know what you want to hear more about. Email us at hello@jillgriffincoaching.com I will also put that link in the show notes. 

OK, this week’s topic is about building trust. 

Maybe you are approaching year two of a remote working environment where you only see people face to face on occasion if at all, it makes it more difficult to gauge our colleagues intentions and values. 

Or perhaps you are on a new team or you are in a new job, or maybe you’ve recently been elevated to a new role. 

Building trust is the basis for everything you do and it’s essential for your success.  

In any kind of work environment, you need trust for all sorts of reasons at every level and every title. 

If you don’t have any trust for your teammates, you are probably not going to feel comfortable with bringing all of your ideas, or your whole self to the workplace.

 You and your teammates may struggle to support one another or openly share ideas and opinions, competition, confusion, and decreased productivity. 

You’ll be less open, take less risks and there’s a chance you’ll impact your future career opportunities.

Have you ever worked in an environment where teammates don’t trust each other? It’s like executive hunger games meets Jedi Mind Tricks. 

Everyone is solely looking out for themselves and everyone has sharp elbows. I worked on a team once that had a high level of responsibility and an equal level of mistrust. 

Leadership eventually got everyone in the room and told us to work it out. Everyone was to contribute what they were going to personally start, stop , and continue doing. 

And our Executive leader went first. He shared his vulnerability and cracked the facade. Oof it was a tremendous display of leadership. 

Slowly people began to shift in their seats. The shift was a relaxing of shoulders and the tension seemed to drain. 

We then went around the table and each followed along with what they too would start, stop, and continue.

 Next, something powerful happened. People began giving and receiving friendly yet contrustrive feedback. 

It wasn’t mean spirited. Or finger pointing. It was feedback that someone could actually implement and impact change. The feedback was to assist. 

The team shifted to a more open, trusted, and positive place within a short few weeks. You could feel it in meetings and the output was more collaborative leading to stronger results. Clients commented too. 

Erin Meyer and Reed Hastings wrote the book Netflix: the no rules rules and the culture of reinvention. The book is a great read, especially if you are in what I call an “old guard” company. The old guard is driven by lack, scarcity, and fear. There’s a competitiveness that doesn’t produce better results, it just produces more chaos. One of the concepts in the book which I love is the idea that feedback is the cornerstone to building trust and you build trust through the 4A’s framework.   

When giving feedback you focus on the first 2A’s : 
You aim to assist. Feedback must be given with positive intent. Giving feedback in order to get frustration off your chest, intentionally hurting the other person, or furthering your political agenda is not tolerated

The feedback is actionable. Your feedback must focus on what the recipient can do differently. 

When receiving feedback you focus on the remaining 2 A’s

Appreciate it. When you receive feedback, you need to fight the natural reaction to be defensive. instead ask yourself, “How can I show appreciation for this feedback by listening carefully, considering the message with an open mind

Accept or discard it. The Netflix way is that you’ll get feedback and you are required to listen and consider it. You are not required to follow it. Say “thank you” with sincerity. But both you and the provider must understand that the decision to react to the feedback is entirely up to the recipient.

People, this is huge. Can you imagine if you were able to influence and create a culture that was able to implement and activate the 4A’s framework? 

Your effectiveness as a leader or an individual contributor will be measured on your ability to connect, communicate, collaborate, inspire and empower others. 

Building trust is probably the most important capital you have. Trust is built slowly through repeated and consistent performance. 

In traditional leadership models building trust is all about you – your mission, your style, and your point of view. It’s your SHOW. 

This approach falls short in today’s marketplace. Cuz it’s not all about you.  If people think you always care more about the impact to yourself than others it’s going to be hard to build trust.

Today’s leadership is about creating the capacity for others to be effective and to empower them to implement change. Leadership at all levels is ensuring that the work gets done and priorities move forward when you are not in the Zoom room. The only way to do this is to build a foundation of trust. Your energy, the language you choose will shape your trustworthiness. 

Making it all about you is a common mistake both at the junior and senior level. You think that you’ve been selected for a role and what I see too often is that you make it your show. Yes, we want your excellence, your charisma, and your vision. But we want a culture of inclusion and belonging too. 

I recently worked with a client who said she struggled with building trust with her teams and was often dinged for this personality trait when it came time for performance reviews. 

Slight side bar, If you’ve been listening for a while you already know that I think annual reviews are lazy, a time suck, and demotivating. 

Lazy because we should be giving feedback regularly but we don’t because we think the behavior will improve on it’s own. 

A time suck because everyone runs around the last 4 weeks of the year deciding whether to give someone a rating of consistently meets expectations or always exceeds expectations. 

And then the recipient of the review wonders why they are a 2 and not a 3. Does this help anyone improve? No it doesn’t. 

Back to my client. Many of her challenges stemmed from making everything about her. She repeatedly told me she doesn’t have nor want empathy. 

The fascinating thing about her behavior was that she said that didn’t care that she was known as difficult, argumentative, defensive, and combative. She believed that since she was in charge they needed to get in line. 

There’s an expression of power over or power with others. She firmly believed in a power over model.  

Over her tenure she was less and less effective and her leadership style resulted in continual turn-over and her department’s revenue began to suffer. 

She repeatedly told me it was only a problem because now it was impacting her bank account.

She said that didn’t care about the impact she had on other people, because it’s a job, not a hobby. 

BTW, I didn’t believe her and I had so much compassion for her fear based and fixed mindset. 

Through our work together she began to see that she only thought she didn’t care. 

She actually spent most of her time at work anxious, concerned, afraid and worried. She kept asking me how she could “be more confident” so she could be successful at her job.

She was eager to fix it but in the beginning she didn’t want to look at the reasons why she was continuing to act this way. 

My client’s logic was that she was just going to decide to not do it again. 

She said she was going to bite her tongue and say nothing. Yeah, that’s like putting an octopus to bed. Good luck with that. 

If you don’t know the starting point how can you measure the result?  

Through our work what she finally came to realize was that to change the behavior she needed to get clear on the thoughts and feelings she was having in order to understand the actions she was taking. 

She began to uncover the microaggressions she was exhibiting all day long that were breaking trust with her team. 

To build or rebuild trust it’s helpful to know what breaks trust. 

Here are some of the common ways we break trust with our teammates.  

You are distracted in zoom meetings. This typically happens because you”got it” quickly and you’ve moved on mentally. But not everyone is as quick to “get it” and they now see you are disengaged. 

You think being transparent and authentic means you have to share exactly what you are thinking. Sometimes it’s not effective to share all that you think. You are not being fake, you are pivoting based on your advanced self awareness. Let’s say someone says something to you that you find off-putting. If you think you need to respond “authentically”or with transparency but what if you are really just overreacting. Self awareness can help you filter and get to a professional response so you don’t overreact. When you are doing something new, say, rethinking transparency, it is going to feel awkward at first. It’s not going to feel authentic until you practice and find the neutral executive presence that feels authentically yours. Check out episode #42 for more on executive presence. I’ll put the link in the show notes.

You continually shut down your camera in a culture when “cameras on” is the norm. 

In group settings you are always on your device. And If I looked over your shoulder I’d see you were scrolling twitter. You’ve let the group know that you’d rather be doing something else. The solve for this is put your phone away and give the team your attention – or don’t go to the meeting.

You roll your eyes and make sighing sounds to show your annoyance. 

You interrupt and talk over people. 

You have the need to be significant yet you don’t offer the same courtesy to others who may have the same need. 

I worked with my client to create a framework for rebuilding trust that she could then measure herself against. 

We looked at where she was ensuring she was reliable in her words and actions, accountable for her mistakes, operating with integrity, being non-judgement, and being in reciprocity. 

She did weekly evaluations on her behavior and that awareness created change. 

I am pleased to say that she is back on track as is her team’s performance.

She did a ton of work and I am so proud of her. Change is possible. 


Alright friends, that’s what I have for you this week.


Before I go, I wanted to let you know that I am launching a career strengths group coaching program that will help you leverage your strengths, get clear on your skills and values, plus help you create your career narrative – which is essential especially if you are interviewing for a new job or making a career change.

I’ll put the link to get on the list for more information in the show notes. 

Have a great week and I will see you next time.