A writer explores the high business costs of damaged trust and offers a plan for repairing it.
“Unresolved trust violations fester and start to overwhelm minds and hearts,” Fraser writes in her nonfiction debut. “If people lose trust in others, it affects how work gets done and how people communicate, problem-solve, and interact.” After a brief grounding in the origins of trust in individual personal development, the author moves her discussion to the world of business. She points out that trust violations “carry more weight” than trust-building actions, emphasizing that a faulty trust environment can quickly spread like rot through a community. For 10 years, Fraser gathered trust-related responses from nearly 1,000 leaders, employees, and customers in a variety of organizations. In these pages, she not only presents some of these stories, but also breaks down the basic dynamics of how individuals behave in groups: how people perceive the purpose of their groups; how they see their own roles in the groups; and how they communicate with one another. After providing this basis, she notes the various small things that can create a toxic environment. These items will be familiar to everybody who’s ever worked in an office: the confusion caused by “soft” deadlines, the unending mix-ups associated with intraoffice emails, and sloppiness and buck-passing. The author then goes on to elaborate a step-by-step plan to repair the damages that can result. These steps mostly boil down to Conflict Resolution 101: dispassionately learn the facts, seek feedback from all involved, be patient, and explore new arrangements. What saves all this from being derivative is Fraser’s abiding optimism. This is not a book about finding and rooting out deficient employees. “Repairing trust takes courage and a mindset that human beings can evolve and change,” the author writes. This will be encouraging to everybody except the managers who have to deal with the genuine, irredeemable bad apples.
A usefully detailed and consistently upbeat strategy for fixing fractured work relationships.