Healthy Leaders


The Culture of Mistrust

Elaine VitikainenElaine Vitikainen

A client opened up to me about the difficulties she was having at work. She described, “During the coffee breaks in our team meetings, my boss frequently takes one of my colleagues to the corner and they talk together in a low whisper. I was paranoid they were talking about me.” She went on to explain that although she had later found out that they were not in fact talking about her, but just gossiping in general, the damage had already been done. She admitted, “The real impact this has had is on me. I learned not to trust my colleagues.”

Trust is such a fragile commodity. It can easily be broken even before it is built. Yet we know trust is the foundation for healthy organizational behavior.

This got me thinking about my own behavior. When I’m in a situation where there is not much trust, I don’t want to put myself on the line. I hold back. As a result, I don’t bring my best ideas to a situation. As I reflected further I began to ask myself – how have I unintentionally contributed to organizational mistrust? When I go to work do my actions actively encourage trust or do they sometimes breed mistrust?

1 John 3:18 calls us to love with actions and in truth, not just with our mouth. As leaders, staff members and facilitators, our actions will speak much, much louder than any fine words.

This week: What might I do a little bit differently to help nurture trust in the groups and organizations that I’m involved with?

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