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Trust Building At Work: Keep Promises And Respect



Trust Building At Work: Keep Promises And Respect


Akindotun Merino

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines promise as, “a declaration that one will do or refrain from doing something specified; or a legally binding declaration that gives the person to whom it is made a right to expect or to claim the performance or forbearance of a specified act.”

When promises are not kept, you communicate to the other person that they are not valued. It means that they are not priority and puts the recipient of this behavior in a self-protective state.

Making a promise and not keeping it is the fastest way to lose the trust of your employees. Sometimes things are beyond our control, and we cannot stay true to your word, but making a promise and not following through can have dire consequences on the relationships you are trying to build.

Getting organized is important to keeping promises to your staff. Do I have the time to commit to this? Do I have other resources? These are questions you should ask yourself before making a promise. Sometimes it’s easy to act in the moment and make a promise in order to make others happy without considering whether or not it’s even possible. Try not to act on impulse; think logically.

Here are some other questions to ask yourself:

  • Why am I agreeing to do this?
  • What outcome am I looking for?
  • Is this too lofty of a promise?
  • Is this absolutely necessary? Why or why not?
  • What would be the ramifications if I’m unable to keep this promise?

You’ve weighed the pros and cons of this promise, decided to go through with it, now you have to do it. The excitement of being the hero who said yes has worn off, now the real work begins. It can be tiring. What do you do? Well, since you made the promise and you do not have a legitimate reason not to follow through, you must push through your lack of motivation and make it happen.

Consider these tips in helping you stay motivated:

  • Remember why you are doing this.
  • Break down your task into smaller chunks.
  • Only focus on positive thoughts.
  • Don’t procrastinate.
  • Don’t be easily distracted by other things.
  • Visualize the outcome.

READ ALSO: Workplace Harassment

Do not over commit and under deliver. To overcommit and under deliver is worse than just saying no in the first place. Decide what you can handle and agree to only that. Don’t sign on to be an overachiever, since this will likely cause you to appear to be the complete opposite.

Saying you can do it all, but ending up not following through will establish you as:

  • Unreliable
  • Unskilled
  • Dishonest

Always err on the side of caution. Don’t take on more than you can handle.
Keeping track of what you must get done and how to get it done is what will lead you to the positive outcome you are looking for. How can you “keep track”?

  • Create a list of what needs to get done.
  • Break down the steps of how each task will get done.
  • Determine the deadlines for each task.
  • Get to work.
  • Evaluate your progress.
  • Determine whether any changes need to be made to the work you’ve done. If so, make them.
  • Deliver the final product.

Respecting others should go without saying, but unfortunately, sometimes people forget that respect should be afforded to everyone, not just the ones you get along with. Let’s take a look at some areas to keep in mind when thinking about respecting others.Everyone in the workplace makes up a body. What kind of body would it be if everyone was the “head” or “arms”? Even though not everyone holds the same position as you, all positions are important. It’s simple: Treat others the way you want them to treat you.

Here are some things you can do to ensure you are exhibiting respect for employees holding various positions:

  • Encourage others to share their ideas
  • Listen to their ideas
  • Utilize others’ ideas when appropriate
  • Don’t insult or demean others
  • Give credit where it is due

An opinion is one of those things that everyone has. One is not “more right” than another. Opinions are typically based on experiences, not on fact. Keep this in mind when working with employees who have an opinion that differs from yours. Your aim should not be to change their opinion, although sometimes having a discussion about differing opinions can be beneficial. Nor should your aim be to discredit someone because of their opinion. Regardless of what someone thinks of a particular issue, they have a right to feel that way, and should continue to be respected.

READ ALSO: Trust Building At Work: Empowering Staff

Time is a commodity that there never seems to be enough of. Knowing that, you should value all employees’ time. Whether you want to meet with an individual employee, or conduct training for a group, consider the fact that they have other work to do. So, use their time and yours wisely. Here are some ways to use time wisely:

  • If you can send an email rather than calling or having an in-person meeting, do so.
  • If your coworker is working on something that is time-sensitive or otherwise should not be interrupted, wait.
  • If you continually promise deliverables by a certain deadline, but do not deliver on time, change this.
  • If you are not prepared for meetings, make that a priority before going into your next one.
  • Set a time to start and end meetings. Stick to it.
  • No matter how great a job a person may do, do not volunteer someone else without consulting them first.

As previously mentioned, everyone serves a particular purpose in the workplace. As such, everyone brings with them a certain skill set. What may be a strength for one, may be an area for improvement for another, and vice versa. Pointing out another’s weakness is of no benefit. Instead, work to help your co-worker gain strength in their specified area of need. An organization is only as strong as its weakest link.

Dr. Akindotun Merino is a Professor of Psychology and a Mental Health Commissioner in California. She is the President of Jars Institute. Feel free to share your successes and challenges:

Prof. Akindotun Merino
Jars Education Group
Instagram: @drakinmerino: Twitter: @drakindotun


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Mental Health

Trust Building At Work: Empowering Staff



Trust Building At Work: Keep Promises And Respect

Akindotun Merino

According to Psychology Today, trust is a central part of all human relationships, including romantic partnerships, family life, business operations, politics, and medical practices. Trust in believing in each other’s agency. It is about connecting and collaboration. For organizations and businesses to thrive, there should be an undercurrent and active embrace of a trust culture.

Building trust is part of empowering your staff. Employees will demonstrate loyalty to employers and organizations that trust them. Gifts and talents are broadly distributed so it is important to value and develop your employees.

An organization that empowers staff will earn their trust. When many think of gaining the trust of their employees and co-workers, they think it can simply be done by being trustworthy themselves. While this may be an effective way to gain trust, you must consider active methods of gaining trust, such as empowering others. Trust is not just something you say, it’s something you do. Providing others with the tools they need in order to be successful shows them that you are willing to invest in them because you believe they have what it takes to be an asset in the workplace. Gain trust by giving trust!

READ ALSO: Workplace Harassment

Managers should set expectations because it is unfair to believe that your expectations are obvious to your employees. How can anyone meet your expectations if they don’t know what they are? Not everyone thinks alike. What is routine to you, may not be routine to others. Once you set your expectations, you must communicate them to the others. As you are writing your expectations, ensure they are: SMART…Specific…Measurable…Attainable…Reasonable…Timely.

Here are some other important things to keep in mind when setting your expectations:

  1. Are they necessary? Only create expectations that are absolutely necessary.
  2. Write them down.
  3. Make them clear. If you don’t understand your expectations, it’s likely no one else will.
  4. Discuss them with employees. Don’t just hand employees a document to read. Sit down with them and explain your expectations. Give employees the opportunity to ask questions.
    Gain employee agreement and commitment.

Accepting input is vital to the nurturing of trust relationships. No employee wants to be viewed as a number or as just another worker. Each wants to be considered a valuable, contributing team member. What better way to do this than to seek the input of each member on various issues? There are some issues that will require an executive decision, but there will also be situations when it is appropriate to gather and assess the feedback of others before making a final decision.

Use a formal means of obtaining input such as a questionnaire, but an informal, word-of-mouth method can prove to be equally effective. Once the ideas have been evaluated, action must be taken. This does not mean that every idea will be implemented, but employees must be given some indication that you are listening and onboard with executing necessary changes. Any ideas that will not be used should be addressed and an explanation given as to why they were not used. Don’t forget to give credit where it is due!

Delegation shows that you trust your people. “If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.” While this may be true in some instances, it is not always the case. You do not want to develop a mindset that says you are the only one who can successfully perform a certain task. Putting that responsibility on yourself is not healthy for you, or the employees around you.

READ ALSO: Recognizing Anxiety In The Workplace

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, to delegate is to “assign responsibility or authority”. Let’s take a look at some of the advantages of delegating work to others:

  • Builds trust between employer and employees.
  • Strengthens communication between employer and employees.
  • Allows others to showcase their skills.
  • Allows other to develop their skills.
  • Affords the manager time to work on higher-level tasks.

Another part of building trust between yourself and employees is providing them with what they need to be successful. This includes whatever they need to do their everyday jobs, as well as whatever they may need in order to successfully complete newly delegated tasks. It is healthy to allow employees to determine and seek resources for themselves to some degree, but in order to be efficient and productive, you must provide them with the basic required resources. Some of these resources include:

  • Human
  • Reasonable accommodations
  • Office supplies
  • Training

Dr. Akindotun Merino is a Professor of Psychology and a Mental Health Commissioner in California. She is the President of Jars Institute. Feel free to share your successes and challenges:

Prof. Akindotun Merino
Jars Education Group
Instagram: @drakinmerino: Twitter: @drakindotun


Read more authentic news on our social media platforms

Continue Reading

Mental Health

Workplace Harassment



Trust Building At Work: Keep Promises And Respect

Akindotun Merino
Workplace harassment is illegal and destructive to any organization. It is important to treat everyone in the workplace with respect and dignity. Workplace harassment must be identified, discouraged, and prevented in order to keep a hostile work environment from developing. Left unchecked, harassment can escalate into violence. Legally, harassment is any word, gesture, or action that offends people or makes them feel uncomfortable or intimidated. You never know how sensitive people are, so never say or do anything if you are not sure how it will be received.

There are many ways to harass co-workers or employees. The rights of all citizens are legally protected, regardless of sex, age, health, ancestry, religion, sexual orientation, or beliefs. Harassment occurs when someone from one group feels discriminated against by another. Be careful, and remember that you never know what people are feeling or thinking. It is possible to accidentally offend those who work with you.

Physical Harassment: This includes gestures, actions, and contact that can be sexual or threatening. Even well-meant gestures like a hug constitute harassment if they make a person uncomfortable. Do not touch people at work or invade their personal space.

Emotional Harassment: Threats, comments, degrading tones, and jokes are all workplace harassment. Avoid volatile subjects, and consider the ramifications of different jokes.

Harassment costs businesses millions every year. Many laws allow people to sue their companies for workplace harassment. Failing to protect employees can result in a high price to pay. Not only are there litigation fees, but psychological ramifications cost businesses as well. The cost to your business is not always monetary, it can cost reputation. A company losing its reputation can have an effect on many aspects of business. The company may lose customers, valuable employees, and not attract prospective new hires.

READ ALSO: Recognizing Anxiety In The Workplace

Legal fees are a costly factor for businesses that face harassment charges. Companies are responsible for protecting their employees from managers, co-workers, vendors, and clients. Sexual harassment is the responsibility of the company when it is quid pro quo, which means that the sexual favors are exchanged for jobs, promotions, or raises. Businesses are also responsible if they are known to promote a hostile work environment. A hostile work environment occurs when management does nothing to prevent harassment. In a legal battle, employers must prove that they used “reasonable care” to prevent and address harassment issues.

Harassment and bullying take a psychological toll on everyone in the workplace. A survey from the American Psychological Association revealed that 74 percent of Americans believe that work causes most of their stress. The stress from harassment can lead to physical symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, and sleeplessness. Harassment, particularly sexual harassment, is linked to post-traumatic stress disorder. Companies lose money in sick days, poor commitment, low productivity, and turnover when workplace harassment is not prevented and addressed immediately.

Bullying is not limited to the playground, and ignoring bullies will not make them leave you alone. Bullies are a growing problem in the workplace. Those who bully others do so with malicious intent. Unlike other harassment issues, bullies know that they are being cruel. Only 20 percent of bullying is considered illegal harassment because 80 percent of bullies do not harass people in other groups. In fact, 71 percent of bullies are women who target other women.

Bullies often target high-performing employees and attempt to destroy them out of fear or jealousy. They manipulate using fear, and will often turn other employees against their target. Bullying has the same results as other harassment practices. Managers are often guilty of bullying their employees.

READ ALSO: Coping Strategies For Workplace Anxieties

Bullying Behavior:

  • Continually changing job parameters
  • Spreading gossip and rumors
  • Creating impossible standards or deadlines
  • Isolating an individual
  • Threats of job loss
  • Spying on or stalking a target
  • Yelling at a target who is not permitted to yell back
  • Belittling or disregarding opinions and feelings
  • Preventing promotions and transfers
  • Intruding in a person’s workspace or belongings
  • Misinforming the target.

Many bullies have personality disorders such as antisocial personality disorder and narcissism. Having a personality disorder is not an excuse to behave badly. Some bullies with personality disorders are not aware of their actions, but others choose to manipulate the people around them. Serial bullies were often bullies in school, and they usually have fake personas to hide their cruelty from the people they want to manipulate.
Those diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder are over 18 and have shown conduct disorders before they were 15.

  • Not conforming to social customs or laws
  • Consistently being deceitful (may use more than one identity)
  • Impulsive and irresponsible (will usually have credit problems)
  • Irritable and unable to empathize.
  • Disregards personal safety and the safety of others

READ ALSO: Recognizing Anxiety In The Workplace

Many bullies show the characteristics of narcissistic personality disorder. This is more common than other personality disorders. They overcompensate for their lack of confidence with a grandiose, self-important view. Narcissists think highly of themselves, need attention, and lack empathy. There are nine indicators of narcissism. A diagnosis requires five of the nine criteria.

  • Arrogance
  • Fantasies that revolve around power, success, beauty, or love
  • Are sure that only a few elite can understand them
  • Need to be appreciated and admired
  • Feels entitled and demands that people comply with their whims
  • Exploit people around them
  • Cannot empathize with others
  • Are jealous of others and believe others are jealous of them
  • Have a self-important attitude

Workplace harassment training is essential to the welfare of all businesses and their employees. Allowing workplace harassment to continue will cause legal problems while destroying company morale. Many people are uncertain about what constitutes harassment, and they are confused when their actions are pointed out as demeaning. It is imperative for organization leaders to create safe working spaces for employees and customers.

Dr. Akindotun Merino is a Professor of Psychology and a Mental Health Commissioner in California. Share your successes and challenges:

Prof. Akindotun Merino
Jars Education Group
Instagram: @drakinmerino: Twitter: @drakindotun


Read more authentic news on our social media platforms

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Mental Health

Recognizing Anxiety In The Workplace



Trust Building At Work: Keep Promises And Respect

Akindotun Merino

It is normal to have some fear or feel out of place at work sometimes, but when the anxiety begins to control you and keep you from performing your normal activities it becomes a serious problem. For many workers that suffer from some sort of workplace anxiety, their productivity decreases and they fail to contribute to the job, which can make them more anxious. While there are many forms of workplace anxiety, we can all learn to overcome them by identifying the key problem and finding a way to manage them, before they manage you. Anxiety cannot be defined as one, isolated condition. It has many faces and can have hundreds of different symptoms.

But before you can begin to understand and identify any type of anxiety, it is important to know the common symptoms and characteristics of different disorders. Only after you’ve identified the type of anxiety can you focus on the source and how to cope with it.

Social anxiety, also known as social phobia, is a type of anxiety where a person fears crowds or public situations because they feel it will lead to public scrutiny or embarrassment. This can range from simply eating in public to being among a large crowd in a store. Sometimes this person can be mistaken for having a shy demeanor, but these people have serious trouble socializing at work or even participating in meetings. This can keep them from being a team player since they frequently withdraw from the group.

READ ALSO: Coping Strategies For Workplace Anxieties

Characteristics include:

  • Extremely fearful of unfamiliar situations and people
  • Feeling overwhelmed with anxiety when in social situations
  • Fearful of being judged or watched by other people
  • Unable to face social situations on your own

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is the most common type of anxiety and is usually defined as a constant state of tension and panic. People who suffer from GAD generally do not have anything particular that they are worrying or obsessing about. They cannot identify the source of the anxiety, and therefore cannot find a way to resolve the problem. So they continue to feel anxiety every day with either no apparent reason, or will find a number of problems to fret about without knowing why.

Common symptoms of GAD:

  • Difficulty focusing, sleeping or concentrating
  • Constant restlessness, irritation or edginess
  • Feeling tired or having low energy levels
  • Tense or clenched muscles

Panic disorder is characterized by a constant state of confusion and fear which normally occurs in sporadic episodes, or panic attacks. While it is normal to have some fear or confusion in our work, these feelings should not cause physical symptoms or interfere with our productivity. These panic attacks can cause sudden, debilitating symptoms, such as shallow breathing, sweating, increased heart rate, and physical pain. Often times many people do not realize they have a panic disorder since they may not recognize the symptoms of a panic attack, which can make this disorder hard to diagnose.

READ ALSO: The Basics Of Performance Management


  • Feelings of doom or losing control
  • Stomach pains, dizziness or even fainting
  • Overwhelming sense of fear, usually irrational
  • Sudden heart palpitations or excessive sweating

Phobias are more common types of anxiety and generally focus on one thing or situation, such as a fear of spiders or a fear of public speaking. People who suffer from certain phobias begin to have an overwhelming feeling of fear and anxiety when they are faced with their phobia and can usually return to a normal state once the item or situation has been taken care of. Generally these phobias don’t interfere with our everyday lives since we may not actually have to encounter our fears on a regular basis (such as snakes, spiders, heights, fires, etc.). But phobias that can occur at work, such as a phobia of public speaking or a fear of crowded rooms, should be addressed right away since they can hinder our ability to function normally on the job.


  • Fear is normally focused on one thing
  • Fear is usually instantaneous
  • Inability to control fears, even after facing the fear itself
  • Feelings subside when phobia has passed or has been avoided

If you are one of the few people that do not suffer from some sort of anxiety, then chances are you know someone who does. But could you recognize the symptoms in someone else if they had some sort of anxiety problem? Would you know what to look for? Sometimes it takes someone on the other side to recognize these symptoms in others and offer their help before the victim themselves can realize they have a problem.

Avoiding different types of social situations is a common symptom of social anxiety disorder. Many people can fear a variety of social or public situations, including public parties or events, group meetings or even having to give a presentation to a large group. They will often find excuses to avoid getting into the situation, or will simply avoid it altogether. When you think of the people you work with, do you think of anyone in particular that displays this kind of behavior? Do you have that team member that shies away from the group? Or maybe they are not there when it is time to present the project? If so, you may have someone in your group that is trying, at all costs, to avoid these social situations, and may need your help to overcome it.

Someone who suffers from some sort of anxiety disorder often has trouble accepting any form of negative feedback since they fear any type of rejection or judgment. Whether it is from a coworker or from management, any negative feedback, or constructive criticism offered will most likely be combated or simply ignored. The employee often takes the negative feedback as a form of judgment being passed on them, which in turn can heighten their feelings of being scrutinized or embarrassed.

READ ALSO: How To Lift Your Income Above Your Financial Goals

When preparing to speak with someone you suspect may not take the information very well, practise what you are going to say ahead of time and check for key positive terms and phrases. If possible, keep negative terms to a minimum. Gauge how the employee reacts to what you have to say, and take the time to talk it out with them if needed. Sometime you may have to check back with them to make sure they have understood what you were trying to say.


  • Approach with caution – prepare wording ahead of time
  • Note how the employee receives the information
  • Follow up as needed – ensure the information was taken in

Difficulty in Focusing on Tasks
It is normal to lack concentration or focus at work, especially since there is normally more than one thing that needs our attention. But if someone has difficulty focusing on several projects, or even one main project, it’s normally due to some type of anxiety. External distractions, such as coworkers or office noises can cause distractions for people with anxiety since they tend to focus on the area around them and make assumptions about their surroundings (“Are they talking about me?” or “Is that my computer making that noise?”). However, they can also have internal distractions that we may not be able to see, such as hunger, paranoia, or even intimidation. Although we cannot always fix these distractions or the employee’s problems, we can offer assistance to them in hopes it will help in some way.

READ ALSO: NIN Becomes Compulsory For School Certificate Examination From 2022 – WAEC

Ways to offer help:

  • Offer to work with them on a project, if available.
  • Let them know you are available for questions or concerns.
  • Try to ensure that your work area doesn’t contribute to their distractions (i.e. turn down any music or speak softly when talking with others)

Dr. Akindotun Merino is a Professor of Psychology and a Mental Health Commissioner in California. Share your successes and challenges:

Prof. Akindotun Merino
Jars Education Group
Instagram: @drakinmerino: Twitter: @drakindotun


Read more authentic news on our social media platforms

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