December 6, 2006
News & Opinion: Establish Trust to Create a Safe Work Environment
Creating a safe environment means establishing a context where people feel there is trust. People will not reveal their secret hopes and dreams, nor their doubts and misgivings, if they believe the information will be used against them, hold them up to ridicule, punish them, put them down, embarrass them, or cause them to suffer some other negative repercussion. They must trust that what is shared will be treated with care and respect. They must trust they will not suffer retribution for letting the cat out of the bag. They must trust that what they put on the table will be used toward important and meaningful ends, not simply to satisfy your curiosity. This means that a work setting where snide comments, put-downs, jokes at others expense, studied cynicism, fear of retribution, oneupmanship, and gossip are the norm will be one where covert processes flourish. You must do whatever you can to create a climate of sincerity, respect, inquiry, trust, and collaboration.
Read more from Covert Practices at Work by Robert J. Marshak
About Dylan Schleicher
Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.