Are Your Co-Workers Trustworthy?

Going to Work Series – Article #3 – Are Your Co-Workers Trustworthy? Whether you realize it or not, the people you work with everyday play an important role in your overall health, both physical and emotional. They also contribute to your productivity and your attitude. Being friends with your co-workers is fine as long as they’re trustworthy. But how can you tell if your co-workers are trustworthy? They’re not going to come right and say “hey, don’t trust me.” What if they’re very good at selling themselves and not only fool you but fool others as well? Feeling uneasy or uncomfortable around your co-workers makes the workplace stressful, not only for you, but for others as well. Here are some signs that your co-worker might not be the person you thought they were.

They only look out for their best interests

While you should be concerned with your own advancement and success, it’s important to look at the overall picture. If you work with someone who values only their time and constantly interrupts you or others to get answers they need, then it really doesn’t matter to them if you complete your job, they’re only concerned with completing their own. To work together as a team is better for the whole company. Bring each other up, help each other out. The ME approach only serves one person and damages working relationships and trust. It also creates a competitive environment and sets the team and/or project up for failure.

Taking credit where it is NOT due

If your co-worker (this might be a good time to remind you that a supervisor is also a co-worker) takes sole credit for work that was done as a team it shows a deep lack of respect, not only for the team but for themselves as well. This is yet another sign that your trust might be misplaced.

Working together as a team

Gossip, gossip, gossip

It seems that every article in this series mentions gossip. However, this is another indication that you might not be able to trust someone. A gossip doesn’t respect or value others’ right to privacy. An important thing to remember, when a co-worker is gossiping to you about another co-worker, chances are good that they are also gossiping to other co-workers about you. Be mindful to limit your involvement in the office gossip. It’s safer that way.

Kissing up to the boss

Do you work with someone who is always trying to get on the boss’ good side? Even if it means throwing others under the bus? Be careful of this person. They have no problem with telling all they know, even at the expense of damaging their relationships with their co-workers. Nothing says you can’t trust someone louder than proof that they would sell you out in a heartbeat in order to be the boss’ favorite.

Back stabber

If they’ve done it once, they’ll do it again. If you’re constantly looking over your shoulder because you don’t trust someone it makes for a hostile work environment. You go into self-preservation and defensive mode making it difficult to focus on your work. This makes you less efficient and more stressed.

Speaking of defensive…

A co-worker who has a very difficult time with constructive criticism should not be trusted. Why? Because they would rather risk the reputation of the entire team before they’d accept the criticism and help to fix the problem. In most cases they will look for someone else to blame for their short-comings and/or mistakes. Becoming successful means accepting feedback, good or bad and using it in a productive manner.

Then there’s Mr. (or Miss) know it all

This person knows EVERYTHING and isn’t afraid to tell people about it. You know the type, they’ve worked everywhere and done everything and always has to tell you how it was done at their other places of employment. While this might be okay in some situations, what has worked for other businesses might not work for you. But don’t try to tell them this. They are never wrong. Okay so they know everything, but how does that make them untrustworthy? Because they won’t hesitate to go behind your back to the people in higher power to sell their point.

Habitual liar

It goes without saying, this person is not to be trusted. Do they constantly make excuses for not being able to come into work, or for having to come in late? Excuses like their child is sick and they have to go to the doctor, or the dog is sick and you have to take them to the vet. This is understandable if it’s truly why they aren’t coming in but when they post pictures on social media later and the child and/or dog is looking just fine you might begin to wonder.

Inconsiderate of others

Do you have a co-worker who is constantly scheduling their time off in conflict with others’ time off? That’s okay if their job has nothing to do with the other person’s job but if it does it is only common decency to discuss the time you want to take off with that other person and come up with a reasonable plan if there is a conflict. Yet another sign of the ME syndrome.


No workplace is perfect and there’s always going to be someone who rubs you the wrong way. That doesn’t necessarily mean they are untrustworthy, it may simply be a personality conflict. However, if your co-worker displays traits like the ones included in this article it is most likely a strong indicator that they are an untrustworthy co-worker. You should pay attention to the signs and try not to align yourself with them as it could not only be a risk to your reputation, but your job as well. You might even want to consider taking some courses, brush up on your skills and look for another job.

As always, feel free to comment below. Stay tuned for next week’s article – “Annoying Work Habits.”

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