We all know the importance of trust in our personal relations. Violations of that trust cause alot of emotional hurt and fuel an entire industry of divorse lawyers. Violations of trust estrange friends, and children, and parents and spouses. Trust can be regained but it takes alot more work to do so than would have been necessary to keep it in the first place.
Trust is also equally important in the workplace. It is the keystone to working relationships as much as it is in personal relationships. You have to trust that your supplier will deliver, that your customer will buy, that your employees will work faithfully and that your boss will support you the way that was promised. Becky Regan, writing for the Compensation Cafe wrote a post entitled Build Employee Trust By Treating Employees Fairly, Not Equally. It is an excellent post on how important trust is in a working relationship and how that trust is built through fairness rather than equality. She points out the errors many managers make by using the misguided principle that equality equals fairness. It doesn’t. We all work at different paces, with different efforts and different results. We don’t necessarily deserve, because we have not earned, the same outcomes. This is explained by Adam’s Equity Theory (click for an explanation).