“Trust is the greatest currency.” – or is it worth creating a climate of trust in the workplace –

Füzes Nóra | psychologist, junior consultant

Füzes Nóra | psychologist, junior consultant

“Trust is the greatest currency”, said Dr. Ferenc Túry during a psychological supervision session. This thought stuck with me, a post it hanging above my desk reminds me of it everyday that in my work as a psychologist, an atmosphere of trust is essential, and the basis of all our work together. But can this idea be applied to other areas of work?

You don’t have to be a researcher to know that an athmosphere of trust is simply a good place to be. We are happier to be in such places, more willing to share our thoughts about ourselves and the world, and more willing to make sacrifices for an environment in which we feel loved, important and accepted.

Collaborative and creative thinking is often expected in the workplace, which would be fine if the basis for all this – an atmosphere of trust – was in place. Unfortunately, however, in many places this is either no longer or never has been the case. This often has a knock-on effect on the long-term success of a company, on turnover, on the effectiveness of employees and on their mental state. Fortunately, with more and more research on the complex and beneficial effects of a climate of trust, its creation in the workplace is becoming more mainstream.

It is important to understand that

that the presence of trust in the workplace is not a gentleman’s whim, but the most significant influencing factor on a wide range of human behaviours.

It makes us more cooperative, because our strong relationships make this possible. This is not surprising, because trust and the feeling of being trusted by another person gives us a sense of security, which is one of the most important and innate needs of all human beings. Since Abraham Maslow’s pyramid of needs, we know that after our physical needs are met (eating, drinking, sleeping…), we have a need for security and protection. If we cannot satisfy this, we will find it very difficult to cope with higher things like creativity, love or self-actualisation.

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Just think about it, dear reader! Have you ever been able to perform really well, be yourself or think creatively, while dreading when you make a mistake or what someone thinks of you? The answer is simple, so first confidence, then performance.

What makes someone seem trustworthy?

Research over the past decades has produced a number of theories to group the complex emotional and mental components of trust, and while there is not a complete consensus on the results, most researchers agree that one of the pillars of trust is a belief in the reliability of another person.

Research suggests that there are three key predictors of someone’s trustworthiness:
belief in the other person’s ability – competence and consistency
– the other person’s benevolence – goodwill, commitment to shared goals and empathy
– the integrity of the other person – objectivity, honesty, sincerity and commitment

When you think about it, most of us really do like to be around such people and the environment they create, but because of personal or environmental factors, this is often somehow missing from many workplaces.

Where does it all lead?

What happens when there is no trust?

Very briefly, when there is no trust, cooperation and job satisfaction are reduced. This is just one of many consequences, but it highlights the fact that building trust is essential to functioning well. To put it very simply, it can be said that being in an atmosphere of trust is better for everyone. But how do we develop this…

How can we build trust?

There’s a sea of literature on different methods, so I’ll just bring the most important ones here.
– Developing non-violent communication through training
– placing employees in the right job where they can fulfil their potential
– setting common, consensual norms, i.e. a kind of common code of conduct, including not only rights and rules, but also decisions on how to break them.
– strengthening partnership, reducing hierarchical relations
– promoting identification with the workplace through shared experiences and events.

In conclusion, it can be seen that one of the fundamental segments of innovative organisational development and corporate culture must be the issue of a climate of trust, which is one of the greatest assets not only at interpersonal level but also at company level.

Let’s build trust!



– Borum, R. (2010). The science of interpersonal trust.
– Schindler, P. L., & Thomas, C. C. (1993). The structure of interpersonal trust in the workplace. Psychological Reports, 73(2), 563-573.
– Maslow, A., Herzberg, F., Alderfer, C. P., & McClelland, D. An examination of motivational theories with a focus on self-determination theory. WORK AND HEALTH, 20.
– E.R., Smith; D.M., Mackie; H.M., Claypool (2016) – Social psychology. ELTE Eötvös Publishers, Budapest.