Have you ever been let down by someone who you trust so dearly, and pondered what it was in the first place that sparked that initial trust? Do you ever wonder why sometimes you meet someone, immediately trust them, and start blabbering on about personal problems and stories that you perhaps wouldn’t usually divulge so early in your relationship? You’re not alone, so do we.
Throughout history, we have developed a longing for close, intimate relationships, built on the foundation of trust. Unlike many animals in the wild, we are neurologically predisposed to crave intimate, trusting relationships with other human beings. The detrimental effects of a lack of this relationship type being developed are shown in cases of privation. Privation occurs when the opportunity to form relationships is minimal during childhood, leading the individual to form no attachments to those around them. This causes the individuals to experience a series of negative consequences such as being unable to establish positive relationships later in life and reduced social skills. The detrimental effects of a lack of trusting relationships indicates that humans by nature need to be ‘close’ to each other. After all, it has always been in our species best interest to work effectively as a collective unit, to produce an effective and protective community. But why is it that we trust some people, but not others?
Previous negative experiences regarding trusting someone, such as a marriage breakdown, workplace dismissal or the ending of a friendship can lead us to be less likely to trust again. When we experience a negative emotion, that we feel is due to trusting someone, we learn to associate this pain and sadness that we feel, with the trust we gave. This deters us from trusting again in the future, as we have associated the negative emotion with trust. We feel that if we trust again, we will again feel the same negative emotion in the future. This can also be seen in the retail and service sector. For example, think back to the last time you were let down by a service provider… Can you remember purchasing from a store, and having a notably negative experience? Then think back to if/when you next returned. How did this affect your attitude towards the provider? Were you still trusting of the company? Or was your trust tarnished, after your previous negative experience? The same process occurs with human relationships.
Although there are clear variations between genders, ages and cultures, the levels of trust we hold as individuals is precious and should be protected at all costs. A survey carried out by HBR and Energy found that employees who felt their employers treated them with trust, were 58% more focused, 63% more satisfied with their jobs, 55% more engaged and 110% more likely to remain with their current employer. Most people are naturally motivated to give their best when it comes to working. However, a lack of trust from some employers makes them feel unimportant and unmotivated. Over time the employee becomes disenfranchised and more than likely, consequentially less productive…
Do you see trust issues in your work-place between employee and employer? If so, how would you best suggest the issue is resolved?