Low Trust in the Workplace

What is it?

Low trust within an organization can be detrimental to its overall effectiveness and success. Low trust can show up in the following ways in:

  1. Lack of Collaboration: When trust is low, employees may hesitate to collaborate with each other, fearing that their ideas will be dismissed or stolen. This can lead to silos, where information isn't shared freely, and collaboration suffers.

  2. Poor Communication: Trust is essential for open and honest communication within an organization. When trust is low, employees may withhold information, avoid difficult conversations, or speak in guarded terms, leading to misunderstandings and miscommunication.

  3. Lack of Accountability: In a low-trust environment, employees may be reluctant to hold themselves or others accountable for their actions, fearing backlash or retaliation. This can lead to a culture of blame-shifting and excuses, where problems go unresolved and accountability is lacking.

  4. Reduced Innovation: Trust is essential for fostering innovation. When employees trust each other, they're more likely to take risks, share their ideas openly, and collaborate on creative solutions to problems. In contrast, in a low-trust environment, employees may be hesitant to share their ideas for fear of criticism or rejection, stifling innovation and creativity.

How is it related to mental health?

Low trust in the workplace can have significant impacts on mental health due to the stressful and challenging dynamics it creates in the work environment. Here are some ways low trust impacts mental health:

  1. Poor Work Relationships: Low trust often leads to strained relationships among employees. When trust is lacking, individuals may be reluctant to collaborate, communicate openly, or support each other, leading to conflicts, misunderstandings, and resentment. These negative interpersonal dynamics can contribute to feelings of isolation, loneliness, and frustration, which can take a toll on mental health.

  2. Impaired Performance: Low trust can hinder team performance by eroding collaboration, communication, and productivity. When team members don't trust each other, they may be less willing to share information, seek help, or take risks, resulting in missed opportunities, suboptimal outcomes, and increased pressure to perform. This performance pressure can exacerbate stress and anxiety, further impacting mental health.

  3. Increased Burnout: Working in a low-trust environment can contribute to feelings of burnout—a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by chronic workplace stress. When trust is lacking, individuals may feel unsupported, unappreciated, and overwhelmed, leading to feelings of disillusionment, cynicism, and exhaustion. Over time, this can contribute to burnout, characterized by symptoms such as fatigue, irritability, and disengagement.

It's essential for organizations to prioritize building trust in the workplace to create a supportive and healthy work environment that promotes mental well-being.

How does Recalibrate Health address low trust?

Psychological Safety is essential for building trust in the workplace, which is the foundation of effective collaboration, communication, accountability, and innovation. By creating a culture of psychological safety, workplaces can overcome the challenges associated with low trust and achieve greater success and cohesion.

Recalibrate Health works with teams, departments, and organizations of all sizes and in all stages of growth to help build Psychological Safety.

DisruptHR Presentation on Psychological Safety