Social Intimacy is the Key to Workplace Trust

Social Intimacy is the Key to Workplace Trust

The word “trust” has many connotations.

As companies identify and define their values, they explore the meanings of topics such as disclosure, linguistics and reliability. As managers and employees alike find meaning in these ideas, they develop the ability to assess others and become trustworthy colleagues.

But trust in the workplace involves an additional dimension. This dimension is revealed in the way employees feel when trusting a manager or colleague with a sensitive issue or information. The dimension is non-sexual intimacy, and its existence is the foundation of staff interconnectedness.

A code of social intimacy is vital to a healthy workplace. When employees stretch beyond their personal comfort zones, they are vulnerable. When employees don’t trust their co-workers, they are prevented from maximizing the value they offer to the company. A staff meeting offers one venue for gauging intimacy. Are employees willing to speak up with ideas, or are they quiet, fearful of approbation?

Environments that are lacking in intimacy have a negative impact on trust in some unexpected ways. Look at it from a scientific viewpoint. When someone perceives a threat that a colleague will betray his trust, the amygdala keeps his cortisol and adrenaline levels high – just as they would be if a physical threat were encountered. The physiological reaction fogs thinking, and may lead to extreme or irrational responses. When intimacy exists among colleagues, misunderstandings are averted.

Moreover, when people are open and vulnerable, they grow emotionally. In a workplace culture where employees feel comfortable in exchanging feedback and participating in potentially difficult conversations, personal and professional growth is possible. Difficult conversations can make the all the difference in creating an atmosphere of trust, and create an environment that leads to personal growth for all employees.  When colleagues understand that there is no penalty for making mistakes and learning from them, it’s the ultimate lesson in how intimacy creates trust.

For more information, please read:
Social Intimacy: A Sure Bet For Achieving Workplace Trust | Wealth Management

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