The 3 C’s of Trust in the Workplace

August 12, 2014

Career Advice

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If you’ve ever lied about the work you’ve done on a project, showed up late to an important meeting, gossiped behind a coworker’s back, blew a budget, or missed a deadline you’ve probably experienced a loss of trust. When you lose someone’s trust — whether it was with your boss or your coworkers — you lose opportunities. And that’s not good when it comes to the future of your career. The good news is that you can earn that trust back.

Although we might think all trust is lost once we’ve committed one of these trust faux pas, the truth is that trust is often viewed in parts. For example, I might not trust you to get the project done in time but I trust that you’re not going to poison the cupcakes you brought for my birthday today. If you’ve dropped the ball at work, there are a few steps you can take to fix your misstep. But first we must understand how trust works.

U.S. News and World Report wrote a recent piece on trust in the workplace. It turns out that there are three C’s of Trust: competence, character, and consistency. Competence means you have the ability to undertake a task, character means that you have integrity and are dependable, and consistence means that you are repeatedly reliable. In other words it’s talent mixed with reliability and dependability.

In order to earn this trust back, try these steps:

1. Acknowledge the problem.
Say, “I know you don’t trust that I can meet this deadline based on what happened during the last project.”

2. Offer proof that you’ve changed.
If you’re discussing a deadline, show your scheduled plan of attack and the mini deadlines you’ll meet along the way. Now you can say, “I know you don’t trust that I can meet this deadline based on what happened during the last project, but I want to share with you the timeline I’ve mapped out and the deadlines I’ve set for myself.”

3. Get someone to vouch for you or oversee your work.
For example, “Barbara is going to check in on me weekly,” or “Barbara offered to jump in and help if I feel overwhelmed.” This shows that someone else is willing to work with you and has earned your trust back.

4. Follow through.
Now is not the time to fail. Be true to your words or it will be even harder to start from step 1 again.


About Spectrum Brands Careers

Spectrum Brands is a global $5 Billion Consumer Products company headquartered in Middleton, Wisconsin. While you may not be familiar with the Spectrum Brands name, there is no doubt you will recognize some of our brands.

View all posts by Spectrum Brands Careers


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