What role do you think trust plays in the workplace? How important is trust to the success of your own career and the success of your company? How would you define trust, and what does it look like in your life? Are you one of those—there seem to be quite a few of them—who trust nobody, or are you one who trusts—foolishly, some say—everybody?

I hope you belong to the trusting group, as trust (or the lack of it) plays a vital role in workplace and career success (or failure). Here’s something to be noted: how much you trust other people has more to do with your own character than theirs. In other words, we see the world as we are. In my nearly 70 years in the workplace (40 as CEO of my own business), I’ve generally found that the trustworthy trust and the unreliable and untrustworthy don’t.

Here are a few comments and observations on trust by some well-respected folk:

  • One must be fond of people and trust them if one is not to make a mess of life.
    —E. M. Forster, author
  • I think we may safely trust a good deal more than we do.
    —Henry David Thoreau, American essayist, poet, and practical philosopher
  • Our distrust is very expensive.
    —Ralph Waldo Emerson, preacher, essayist, lecturer, philosopher
  • You may be deceived if you trust too much, but you will live in torment unless you trust enough.
    —Frank Crane, Presbyterian minister, speaker, and columnist

To be successful in one’s career and in the building of a business it’s essential to trust and be trustworthy, because none of us can be and do everything we need, and none of us can verify everything in advance: at some point each of us must rely on others, proceed on goodwill, and make decisions based on unguaranteed information. As I’ve made clear in other blog posts, there is no success without risk, including interpersonal risk—and risktaking requires trust.

If you currently work in an environment where leadership and co-workers don’t trust one another, I would suggest you look for another job, as neither the workers, the management, nor the business will be going places other than downhill.

Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you.  

Psalm 37:5