Openness At Work And Trust

The majority of adults spend over 50% of their time at work and like it or not, our colleagues and boss are the people we interact with the most. This week we’ll explore openness as the third foundation of trusting professional relationships. Openness is defined as receptivity to new ideas, behaviors, cultures, peoples, environments and experiences.


Remember when the open floor plan debuted? Researchers found the lack of physical barriers doesn’t ensure openness and can have a negative effect on the psyche of employees. It also leads employees to feel “on display” which can reduce creativity and limit interactions. Harvard Business Review perfectly summed the issue saying, “‘Do I look busy?’ becomes that’s more important than ‘Am I doing my best work?’”


Encouraging Open Communication

In the quest for openness in the workplace, it comes down to a strong sense of trust and involvement with employees. Being the leader, it’s important that you walk the walk and talk the talk. So take out your earbuds, walk the halls and start engaging using an open communication model


  • Face-to-face meetings- Show employees that management is available, interested in what their employees have to say and are approachable. 
  • Acknowledgement- When addressing employees, remember to approach them with their individual DISC behavior style in mind. It is also important to acknowledge the good work employees have done soon after they have completed a project or assignment.
  • Involvement – When it comes to problem solving or change management involving your teams makes them feel engaged, heard and appreciated. 
  • Encourage creativity- One of my previous blogs examined the importance of creativity in the workforce. Creativity naturally breeds openness.
  • Humor Have fun with your team and don’t take yourself so seriously. 
  • Be Open Yourself- While you don’t have to share everything personal, being open about your life outside the office helps to humanize you. Plus, you’ll benefit by finding common ground with your employees and see each other in a different light. 


Openness is crucial to a properly functioning business. If you’d like to discuss your own leadership development or coaching or how your organization can benefit from openness in your culture contact me.