Backstabbers Beware: Trust is Most Important Way to Get Ahead

Winning friends may not be the way to influence people — at least not at work. A new national survey concludes that employees aren't looking for fun and friends in the workplace. What they really want is trust.

Terry Bacon, CEO of the human-resources consulting firm Lore International, conducted the survey with more than 500 employees across various industries. Bacon says that in order to succeed in the workplace, it's important for workers to demonstrate trustworthiness, honesty and the ability to collaborate. Those were the top traits sought among successful employees.

What's not important? Companionship and friendship — only 18 percent of those surveyed said that's what they were seeking from their co-workers.

"If you want to get ahead, you have to do great work," says Bacon. "But you have to be honest and trustworthy. Be a good teammate. Keep people informed. If you want to advance, you have to create demand for yourself. It's the only way to do it. But you also have to do it in a way that people see as collaborative."

Bacon adds that those who get derailed in their careers are the people who have poor interpersonal skills and are not good team members.

So how do you build trustworthiness on the job? By not being what Bacon dubs a "trust killer":

Credit hogs: You do the work, they claim they did it. Lone rangers: The ones who don't want to work with others. Ego-maniacs: They think they're better than everyone else. Mules: They are excessively stubborn.

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