What Is The Difference Between Trust And Psychological Safety

What Is The Difference Between Trust And Psychological Safety? Trust is a type of bond that can be formed between people. One of the main forms of trust is personal trust, which can be either positive or negative. Personal trust can be made during relationships with coworkers, friends, and acquaintances.

Psychological safety has also been defined as a sense of belonging and belief in one’s own competence to succeed in work-related tasks. This sense of belonging can lead to individual’s responsibility and hard work, which in turn, can effectively connect the employee’s abilities with the employer’s needs.

Trust and Psychological Safety

Trust has been defined as a “belief about the honesty, competence, benevolence, or reliability of someone or something”. When one trusts another, he or she expects that the other will not intentionally cause him or her harm. For example:

• A student trusts his teacher to clarify each new term in a course.
• A patient trusts an attending physician to safeguard the patient’s health.

Types of Trust

There are two general types of trust: (a) personal trust (positive), and (b) non-personal trust (negative).

(a) Personal Trust: If one’s relationship is positive, the two individuals involved in the interaction can expect to be safe from intentional harmful acts. A positive personal trust relationship can be fostered through positive interactions with relevant others such as parents or bosses, or through activities that focus on building social skills such as sports, church, or school.
(b) non-personal trust (negative). In contrast, if one’s relationship is negative, the two individuals involved in the interaction can expect to be in harms’ way. Negative personal trust relationships can be fostered through negative interactions with relevant others such as parents or bosses, or through activities that focus on building social skills such as sports, church or school.

When Is Trust Beneficial? An individual may have positive personal trust and positive non-personal trust with multiple people such as family members and work colleagues.

Benefits of Trust in Workplace Relationships

Trust can have both positive and negative effects in the workplace. Specifically, if a person has a positive relationship with coworkers, then he or she may be willing to offer constructive suggestions that improve the work environment.

However, those same people with positive relationships may be willing to withhold their criticism of coworkers who are not performing their duties effectively.

Enabling Conditions for Developing Trust

Some studies suggest that the factors that are relevant to developing a positive personal trust relationship include:

• Similarity
• Reciprocity
• Similar attitudes, values, and goals.
• Openness.

When Trust Becomes Harmful in the Workplace

When trust leads to insulation of dangerous environments and when vital information is concealed from those on whom it should be imparted, it can have negative consequences for the work team as well as for the organization at large.

Positive vs. Negative Trust

Non-personal trust can be either positive or negative. Positive non-personal trust is developed by observing that a consistent pattern exists in which one predicts that another person who is reliable and benevolent will provide assistance when needed. For example:

• A professor may have trust in a graduate student to complete the task of typing up lecture notes, even though she is not personally acquainted with the student.

Enabling Conditions for Developing Positive Non-Personal Trust

This type of trust grows out of the consistency and predictability of another’s behavior. For example: A student may develop positive non-personal trust in an instructor because he or she knows that the teacher is qualified to teach the material.

Enabling Conditions for Developing Negative Non-Personal Trust

This type of trust grows out of the consistency and predictability in another’s behavior, but that pattern is characterized by a propensity to punish.