You Can Count on Me
/ Author: CLAC Staff
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You Can Count on Me

Workplace relationships are complicated. Reduce friction on job sites and in meetings by setting a consistent standard of trust

By Blessing Oluloto, Intern

It goes without saying that trust is necessary to maintain a healthy relationship between union members and their representatives. Workers face a variety of challenges at their jobs and depend on their representatives’ commitment to workplace safety, well-being, and compensation. 

This approach can also be applied to relationships between coworkers and between employees and their employers. Keep the following best practices in mind when interacting with others at your workplace, whether it be your boss, a teammate, or a steward. 

1. Don’t say it’s an apple when it could be an orange. 

Business leader Mo Ibrahim once said, "Accurate information is required to see where action is needed." Do your due diligence. If you don't know the answer to a question, be honest, then go find it. 

It is never wise to guess or give deceptive answers. If you do, it will negatively affect the channel of communication between you and your coworkers. Additionally, you cannot predict what will be done with that information, and the ramifications of providing the wrong info can be costly. A simple “I need to check and get back to you” is a good place to start. 

2. Be predictable. 

Ask yourself, what can they expect from me, when can they expect it by, and what is next? If the plan changes, communicate what has happened and how you will adjust. This establishes a consistent standard of behaviour that others can count on. 

Distrust happens when people think you are hiding something or when your behaviour is erratic or self-contradictory. Being predictable provides others with the assurance that you are fully committed to them. 

3. Create space for storytelling, then honour the stories by listening. 

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view . . . until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” These words from Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird still ring true today. 

Honouring the stories of others means listening to understand their experience. It’s also important to remember at least one piece of information about the people you interact with.

How do you know when you've garnered trust? There are a few key ways: 

  People are willing to share vulnerable details when telling you their stories.

  When you offer recommendations for solutions to a problem, they listen to your ideas respectfully and seriously.

  When you explain the next course of action, they willingly follow along. 

No matter the workplace issue, creating a level of trust among teammates is important—and easy to do, if you take the right approach.

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