Humans “read” body language and facial expressions to discern if others are trustworthy, but some situations – like change or confusion – prime us for distrust. In the absence of information, the brain works overtime. After all, we’re programmed to anticipate harm and protect ourselves from it. But even when your team lacks clarity on a situation, you can still build a trusting environment.
Think about a time when your boss and a colleague starting meeting regularly and you didn’t know why. You probably started wondering if you’d been left out of an important project. Leaders can shift people’s thoughts away from threats by fostering an open, transparent environment in which everyone shares and discusses as much as they can about what’s really going on. This sends a strong signal to everyone’s lower brain that “trust is in the air.”
Adapted from “How to Dispel Distrust at Work,” by Judith E. Glaser.