Have You Inadvertently Broken Trust with Someone?


This is a true story I heard the other day that unfortunately occurs all too frequently in business.

It involves an employee of a large Australian retail chain about broken trust and the ramifications that the actions of two team leaders have had on a team. 

You might have been in a similar situation at some point in your career so can relate.
For the sake of anonymity, let’s call the employee in this story, Brenda.

Brenda works in a large retail team, and she works hard. She’s been there many years and is a valued and well-liked

However, one day her boss (who’d been in a bad mood all day – let’s call her Karen) calls Brenda into her office and
rips into her with no real reason and then finished the tirade with advice for her social life.

How thoughtful Karen.

While poor Brenda sits there stunned at the random attack, Karen then proceeds to say “Well don’t just sit there like a
 stunned mullet.”

Nice one Karen. That’ll get them talking.
Karen then had the audacity to request, while Brenda was beating hasty and dazed exit, that could the meeting just 
be kept between to two of them.

Gets you thinking, doesn’t it?
Brenda really wanted a second opinion on what went down.

She was wondering if she was overreacting, or if should she take on board the long list of apparent
failures she’d committed, so she ended up approaching the team leader for an off-the-record, private conversation 
to ask for advice.
At the end of the talk, Brenda specifically asked that he not talk to Karen about it.

Which he then did……and yep, Karen wasn’t happy, and then yes, she took it out on Brenda, every day from then on.
So, there are two issues at play here:

1. Karen verbally abused Brenda (and knew it) which damaged their relationship and broke trust.

2. The team leader put Brenda in a compromised position by breaking her trust, when he should have had her back.

Brenda now feels isolated and alone at work.

And you can guess that her performance isn’t now what it was and that she’s considering finding a new position, which 
she could easily get.

Brenda’s abnormally low mood is also impacting the team.

How could it not.
When you lead a team, trust underpins everything.

Without it, you’re just spinning your wheels.

If you don’t repair trust, you’ll spin your wheels so deep that it’ll be difficult to get out of the hole you’re digging
for yourself.
As the leader, you need to be earning and re-earning trust every single day through the words you say, 
and most importantly, by your actions.

Your people need to know you have their back – that you’ll go into bat for them, that you’ll do what you say you’ll do, that you’re there to help and serve them to do their job to the best of their ability, that you care for them as a human being, and that you value them of considerable worth.
Could you better care for your people through your words and actions?

Do the people you lead trust you?

Do you mean what you say?

Do you need to apologise to anyone?

Are you earning and re-earning trust with those you lead every day?
We all stuff up.

We all get it wrong sometimes.

We’re only human, and when we do, we need to apologise and try our utmost to do better tomorrow.

Because trust really is everything – in leadership and life – and when you lead it should be a priority because without trust you won’t have influence.

And if you don’t have influence, you won’t have anyone following you.

With no one following you, you’re not a leader and you can’t do anything great on your own – it always takes a team.


So, let’s all strive each day to earn and re-earn trust for those in our care and under our leadership.
I hope this blog challenges and stimulates you a little so you and your team can build your leadership 
strength to live better lives.

Take care and keep climbing. 
Peter (Coxey)

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