In your opinion, what makes a person trustworthy? Do they keep your secrets? Respect your beliefs and boundaries? When you know someone isn’t trustworthy, it affects your relationship. Often, it can break a relationship. People need to have others they can trust. Whether it’s in personal relationships, work, or society as a whole, trust is essential. Here are ten reasons why:
#1. Trust creates psychological safety
Dr. Amy Edmonson, a professor at Harvard Business School, describes psychological safety as the ability to be yourself without fear of negative consequences. She talks about this concept as it relates to trust in the workplace. When there’s trust between team members, they feel safe psychologically. This means they aren’t afraid that speaking up might cost them their reputations or jobs. Psychological safety is also important in personal relationships. Using the example of a parent and child, a child who trusts their parent isn’t afraid that something they do or say will make their parent stop loving them.
#2. Trust encourages questioning and risk-taking
In the workplace, asking questions and taking risks leads to innovation. If a team doesn’t have trust in each other, though, they’re much more likely to avoid questioning and risk-taking. It goes back to psychological safety; they don’t feel confident their questions will be respected. In personal relationships, questions and risks are just as important. People can express their concerns, ask for what they want, and question decisions. This encourages more understanding.
#3. Trust encourages fast decisions
When trust is built into an organization or relationship, decision-making is a faster process. Everyone knows that the decision-making person or entity has the best intentions. They’ve proven themselves competent in the past. No one needs to pick apart the decision-making process or check it thoroughly for errors, so everything moves faster. In many environments, a fast decision is essential and makes life better.
#4. Trust improves communication
Good communication is important in every type of relationship whether it’s one between two people or between different parts of an organization. If there isn’t trust between the participants, communication suffers. There’s fear that what is communicated might be used as retaliation or – at the very least – it won’t be respected. People will hide things from each other, which can only have negative consequences down the road. Misunderstandings are more common. When there’s trust, communication is open and honest.
#5. Trust promotes self-confidence
In environments where there isn’t trust, a person can’t rely on others to respect their opinions and value. Without that affirmation, it’s very easy for a person’s confidence to plummet. They won’t take as many risks or express their creativity. Within a safe space of trust, people can be themselves and be validated. This can only boost their self-confidence and encourage more trust and vulnerability.
#6. Trust increases productivity
Combine risk-taking, fast decisions, and self-confidence in the workplace, and you end up with a more productive workplace. When there isn’t trust, everything takes longer. There’s less unity and higher stress levels. Micro-managing is the norm. As a result, a company is less productive. This can have financial consequences, and eventually, an organization can fall apart.
#7. Trust facilitates meaningful connections
Trust is the backbone of healthy, happy relationships whether they’re romantic or not. When you trust that a person respects and loves you, it’s much easier to be vulnerable. Vulnerability is what fosters real, close connection. The journey to getting to a place where there’s trust also builds closeness. With each experience that proves a person’s trustworthiness, others feel more comfortable and safe.
#8. Trust reduces stress
Whether it’s in the workplace or personal relationships, a lack of trust is emotionally exhausting. A person feels like they’re walking through a minefield, unsure when something they say or do could backfire on them. They always feel like they’re looking over their shoulder in case someone is about to stab them in the back. This is extremely stressful. Being in an environment with trust lets a person relax and feel safe. Their stress decreases.
#9. Trust increases feelings of optimism
If you look at someone who identifies as a pessimist, odds are they’ve not experienced a lot of relationships or environments with trust. On the other hand, trust teaches a person that the world isn’t all dangerous. There are people out there with good intentions. Research shows that optimism comes with a range of benefits, including better health and longer lifespans.
#10. Trust is good for communities
When trust is embedded into a community as a cultural norm, that community is healthier and happier. This makes sense since communities are just webs of different relationships. Dan Buettner, author of The Blue Zones of Happiness, discovered that when trust is below 30%, a country’s living standards are stuck and unable to grow. Besides gross domestic product, trust is the strongest predictor of a nation’s happiness level.