Can you ever restore trust, once it’s broken? The answer is maybe, but it requires swift and deliberate action by a leader.
First, acknowledge the mistake as bad judgment. Don’t make excuses. Next, lay out a roadmap for sustainable change. Do not accept status quo.
In a case where a city manager was charged with assault and battery against a female friend, who also worked there, the city council should be transparent in resolving the problem. Deliberate and swift action is needed to restore trust with city workers who have been working under a manager with a history of inappropriate behavior.
In any case, firing the person doesn’t automatically win back trust. It takes time, leadership, and workplace changes before trust can begin to sprout.