Have you ever had the experience of not trusting a co-worker? Maybe you thought he or she was out for your job, throwing you under the bus every chance he or she had. Or perhaps you simply thought they were behind your disappearing lunch from the break room. Either way, looking over our shoulder daily takes a mental and emotional toll that can have significant consequences. In best cases, it leads to added stress and burn-out. In worst cases, it promotes paranoia and soon we are plotting ways to either trap the culprit in the act or eat his or her lunch before they get to ours. Not a pretty sight.

This month we’ll be tackling this all-too-real dysfunction: “I don’t trust my co-worker.” We’ll be tackling the following questions throughout the month:

  • What are the signs that I can’t trust my co-worker?
  • What are the best ways to protect ourselves in these situations?
  • What is the role that bosses play in promoting distrust amongst co-workers and if we are the boss, what can we do to eliminate this dysfunction in the office?
  • What can we do to recognize distrustful co-workers and avoid those environments from the beginning before it’s too late?

Every week, I’ll kick off our conversation by addressing one of these big questions. Throughout the week I’ll collect and share stories, examples and other opinions as we dig in. By the end of the month, if we haven’t cured this dysfunction, we’ll do a darn good job treating it!

Write to me with your stories, examples or opinions on the subject. I promise to protect the innocent (and guilty!).

So, can you trust your co-workers? Before you plot your counter-terrorist strategies and booby trap your lunch, make sure there aren’t any easier (and more productive) approaches to stopping distrustful co-workers in their tracks.

Speaking of stolen lunches, I think this commercial sums it up nicely!