When you’re working with another person on a project, you need to have a certain amount of trust. You need to trust that your coworker will do his or her part, get it done right, and meet necessary deadlines.

But what if you don’t trust a certain coworker? How are you supposed to move forward? Author Paul White offers a few suggestions:

  • First, don’t view trust as something that’s “all or nothing.” Think of it as situational. You might trust your coworker to do certain tasks, but not trust him or her to do other things.
  • Next, try to identify the specific tasks or activities that you don’t trust your coworker to complete. Think about why you don’t trust your coworker to do these things. Is it because your coworker isn’t consistent and doesn’t get work done on time? Does your coworker lack the skills necessary to do certain tasks correctly?
  • Try to determine tasks that your coworker can be trusted to complete (maybe because your coworker is particularly skilled in these areas or because the tasks provide the kind of structure that will help your coworker to get the work done on time). If your coworker does well with these tasks, your trust will build.
  • Try to think of other ways that your coworker could prove his or her trustworthiness, and allow your coworker to take on these challenges.

If you can rebuild your trust, it will benefit you just as much as your coworker. It’s very difficult and stressful to work with someone whom you feel you can’t count on. But if you can find ways to trust your coworker, it will make your job easier – and help you to be happier and more productive.


White, P. (2015). Trust and be trusted. Talent Development, 69(11), 88-89.