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How to Build Trust

It is essential for your career success as an employee, manager, or leader to learn how to establish and maintain trustworthy relationships with coworkers. Creating a sense of familiarity is the first step in earning someone's trust.

It's harder to collaborate and share information with others if you don't trust them. A more reliable colleague may earn the promotion instead of you. A total breakdown of trust can spell disaster for any group.

The truth is that most people have never learned how to establish trust. Fortunately, there are tried-and-true methods for fostering a trustworthy environment at work.

What exactly is trust?

You possibly don't even know what the definition of trust is. To that end, let's begin there. When we talk about trust, we're referring to things like:

  • Confidence and safety in interacting with another person.

  • Having confidence in someone's dependability and capacity to act as expected.

  • Having established a solid reputation over years of hard work.

Human interactions rely heavily on trust between those involved. It's also crucial for effective workplace communication.

If you didn't believe your accountant or lawyer had your best interests at heart, how long do you think you'd stay their client? If you were in a relationship or friendship with someone you didn't trust, how long would you stay?

Learning to trust others, though, is just as crucial as developing your own trustworthiness.

In a sad turn of events, data shows that people's trust in one another is worse now than it was 40 years ago. Mutual trust is essential in intimate relationships, as well as in those with close friends and family.

The same holds true in the business world. Having confidence in your teammates is essential. Employee morale is increased when trust is high. Additionally, it results in a more productive workplace where everyone is treated with dignity and respect.

But no one really teaches us the specifics of how to do that in any formal setting. Trust is a skill that is assumed to be acquired naturally over time.

It's easier for certain people than others to gain someone's trust. Others will be learning about the trust-building process for the first time in this article.

Having trust with others

The importance of trust, and why you should care

If someone loses your trust, it will show in how they interact with you verbally and behaviorally.

Seventy-four percent fewer cases of stress are reported among employees of highly trustworthy businesses. The inverse is also correct, though. Employees at a company can feel the strain of a lack of trust.

If your supervisor doesn't have faith in you, don't expect them to let you set your own schedule or decide how you'd want to approach your task. You should expect more close supervision and thorough inspection of your work.

If your coworkers don't trust you, they won't be able to work with you or aid you. There's a good chance you won't even be invited to any of the fun activities and parties that happen after work.

The foundation of every relationship is trust, and when it breaks so does the relationship. - Tomer Rozenberg

It is critical for teams to establish a foundation of trust early on and keep it strong. If your reputation begins to suffer, people may no longer trust you as much.

People aren't prone to befriend dishonest people, which could further damage your reputation at work.

When more employees are working remotely as part of a virtual team, trust is crucial. It's crucial that there be a lot of trust in a remote team.

What makes trust so crucial?

Successful employees, managers, and leaders all know how important it is to cultivate trust in the workplace. Earning someone's trust requires demonstrating behaviors that inspire confidence in your reliability, faith in your motives, and enthusiasm for collaboration.

It is common knowledge that a trustworthy workplace has a culture that has been nurtured through shared ideals, consistent effort, and effective teamwork. In addition to increasing productivity, teamwork also fosters an atmosphere of trust in the workplace.

More and more people are working remotely as part of a virtual team, making trust crucial. In order to be productive, a remote team needs a high level of trust among its members.

Different varieties of trust.

There are two forms of trust that are important to understand when discussing trust.

It's important to note that there are distinct paths to building each of these forms of trust. These two components complement one another and are essential. Therefore, it is essential to build both types of trust at the same time.

Trust can be either rational or emotional, depending on the context.

Rational trust

This is the form of trust that most people picture when they think of putting their faith in another person.

Being a reliable worker is how you gain management's confidence in you. When you say you'll be somewhere, you actually show up. You're productive and always on time.

If you can gain the confidence of others, people will come to view you as competent and trustworthy. You keep your word and follow through on commitments.

There won't be much room for autonomy if your superiors can't put their faith in you. Productivity can drop when there is a breakdown in communication.

Keep in mind that trust between employers and employees is essential in both directions. It's important to earn people's trust no matter what level of organization you work in.

Emotional trust

There is a lower likelihood of general awareness of this form of trust. By connecting with your colleagues on a deeper level and going above and beyond in your work, you earn their trust. One needs emotional intelligence to accomplish this.

Developing your emotional intelligence is a great place to start, as it is a trait shared by many effective leaders.

You and your work best buddy probably share a deep emotional connection.

You have each other's backs and that was comforting. Everybody was courteous to one another. And you were able to express yourself in ways you might not have with your coworkers.

Earning someone's trust in this way is trickier than using a formula because there is no such thing. Relationships and networking are the main focus.

It is possible to foster trust in an organization on an emotional level.

Consider Netflix as an illustration. On Glassdoor, 70% of Netflix staffers say they would suggest working there to a friend.

We think this is because Netflix is committed to hiring people of diverse backgrounds and high moral character. They have a very trustworthy workplace culture. They also have more leeway in making decisions and disclosing information.

Related: How to Build a Dream Team

The importance of trust in relationships, and why it must be earned.

If you want to have meaningful relationships at work (or anyplace else), you need to learn how to establish trust with others.

Distrust is a major contributor to the breakdown of marriages and other committed relationships. After going through something like that, it might be hard to learn to trust people again.

Millennials are 22 times more likely to join an organization with a strong trust culture in the workplace.

The ultimate goal of fostering trust in groups or amongst individuals is the same. People are more likely to collaborate and share ideas if they feel safe doing so.

It's important for our emotional and mental health to feel accepted and valued by those around us. You can only achieve this if you trust each other a great deal.

Knowing that everyone is on the same page gives us confidence.

Being reliable makes you more endearing to others. Increases the likelihood that your coworkers will speak well of you and recommend you for a promotion. It's the key to opening up opportunities for more rapid expansion of your business.

Even if it's not only people, everything flourishes when there's a lot of trust between everyone involved. Companies with a high level of trust in the workplace outperform the market by nearly two to one.

When trust is broken in a relationship, it can throw everyone involved off-kilter.

This is not a smooth process. Even if the reason eludes your explanation at the moment. It may take some time to earn someone's trust, but it's much more challenging to win their trust back once you've betrayed them.

Related: How To Create A Positive Workplace Culture

Learn to gain other's trust

Now that you have a better understanding of trust and its significance, you can focus on developing trusting relationships in your personal and professional life.

In order to gain someone's trust, you must take decisive action. There is no magic formula that will make it so.

Honor long-lasting relationships

Building trust takes time. In the heat of the moment, it can be tempting to shift the blame or make hasty choices that will pay off temporarily. However, before taking any steps, you should consider how they might be interpreted by others in the future.

Honesty is important

Getting a bad rep for being dishonest is a quick way to lose people's trust in you. Never sugarcoat the truth; never give somebody the satisfaction of catching you in a falsehood.

Keep your word

Trustworthy people always follow through on their commitments. Keep your word if you say you'll do anything. Whenever possible, refrain from making assurances that you cannot deliver on.

Related: 10 Warning Signs of Employee Burnout & How to Prevent It

Be humble enough to accept blame when you're wrong

Not many people like an "excuse" when anything goes wrong. It's preferable, to be honest and admit fault if you've done something wrong. Admit your mistake if you find out you were wrong.

Admitting a mistake might make you appear more trustworthy because it shows you are human. One aspect of honesty is owning up to one's own shortcomings.


Misunderstandings are a quick way to ruin the trust between two people. Do your utmost to say things in a way that can't be misunderstood.

Ask questions to get clarity during a conversation if you're unsure of something being discussed.

Communication relies as much on active listening as it does on talking. Make sure you give other people an opportunity to share their thoughts. If you listen attentively, people will know that you value their opinions.

Vulnerability can be a strength

Sharing your sentiments and allowing yourself to feel them can go a long way toward earning someone's trust. This demonstrates empathy and that you value the other person's humanity.

If something has disturbed you or stressed you out at work, don't hold it in. Careful deliberation is required here. It's not a good idea to spill the beans on your personal life to everyone at work.

To avoid either extreme, you need the EQ to know when you've shared too much or too little about yourself. Start off by disclosing only small bits at first. When done properly, sharing your sentiments with another person can help build trust in your relationship.

Lend a hand

Someone who can be relied on will always offer assistance if asked. Ignorantly, or with the hope of gaining some benefit, they do it. And it's not just because they're nice—they actually are.

Perhaps you've finished up for the day. You may waste away your time mindlessly surfing the web at your workstation. Instead, you could be of assistance.

Do what you can to assist a coworker if you see that they are sluggishly handling their own workload.

Alternatively, you might inquire as to whether or not there are any additional responsibilities you could take on with your current employer. There's no harm in helping out a brand-new hire who's struggling to find their footing.

Share your feelings with others.

When people sense that you care about them, they are more likely to put their trust in you. A smart place to start is by remembering the name of a coworker's child or inquiring how they spent their weekend.

You've probably had to deal with a coworker that lives in their own little world. No one else seemed to matter to them save themselves. You've probably also had a coworker who genuinely cared about how you were doing and made frequent check-ins to see how you were doing. If you had to choose, whose word would you put more faith in?

It's not hard to show you care for someone by simply using their name. A person's name is the most endearing and significant sound in the world to that person, as stated by Dale Carnegie.

Fight for what you believe in

Sincerity is valued by society. The finest leaders aren't interested in having a team of "yes" people who agree with everything they say.

Don't compromise your ethics and principles to please your boss or advance in your career. Relational trust will suffer as a result.

Be Open and Honest

Most people will grasp your meaning if you simply take the time to explain your actions. Please don't keep anything to yourself.

People on your team with whom you should be working cooperatively are the ones with whom you should be creating trust. Give them the tools they need to achieve success on their own.

Related: How to Become a Better You

Establish trust in the workplace

In order to be a productive member of a team where others value and respect your contributions and feel safe coming to you for assistance, you must first earn their trust.

Communicate with your colleagues

Maintaining open lines of email and face-to-face communication with your employees is another great method to earn their trust.

Make sure your email is professional, approachable, and easy to read by following basic email etiquette. Take care with your tone so as not to offend the person you are writing to.

Pay close attention to your tone of voice and nonverbal clues when having face-to-face talks, as these factors can greatly affect how your coworkers interpret and respond to what you say. Show that you care by listening attentively to what they have to say.

Develop a mentoring relationship.

Talk to your boss about being a mentor if you feel you would benefit from the experience. Whether it's a new employee or an existing team member, you can serve as a mentor to anyone who needs assistance learning how to use a specific piece of equipment or procedure.

Taking a new employee on a tour of the office and explaining how things work is a great way to earn their trust as a mentor. It's possible that they'll come to rely on you as they learn to fulfill their new duty.

Know your team.

Taking an interest in your coworkers' life outside of work might go a long way toward earning their trust. If you take the time to get to know your coworkers, you may discover that you are able to complete joint projects with greater efficiency and success.

Start building rapport with your employees by inquiring about their weekend plans, taking them out to lunch where business is off-limits, and hosting an icebreaker for any new hires.

Office parties are a great way to commemorate special occasions like birthdays and work anniversaries.

Recognize the merits of each team member.

There is a purpose for everyone's presence in your workplace, whether it be due to prior experience, existing expertise, or a willingness to learn and develop in their current position.

Embrace the individuality they offer to the team. By recognizing an individual's worth, you show that you appreciate their efforts and the value they add to the team.

If you want to show them how much you value them, ask for their help when you're stuck on a problem. If someone has taken the time to explain something to you, it's courteous to thank them and provide some assistance in return.

Get involved with the workplace

You have the option of staying primarily to yourself or participating more actively with the group. While the first isn't always a deal breaker when it comes to establishing trust, the second can facilitate trust-building and hasten the process.

Learn to engage with your coworkers in and out of meetings. Pay close attention while someone is speaking, provide recommendations if asked, take criticism constructively, and collaborate when necessary.

When you join in, you need to be willing to put your faith in the group rather than just attempting to get everyone to believe in you.

Be of service to your group.

Giving back to your staff is another great method to earn their trust. A coworker who has taken on too many responsibilities may be struggling to keep up with everything they have taken on. See if there's anything you can do to help lighten the load.

The spirit of assistance extends to common courtesies; for example, opening doors, offering to lift heavy file cabinets, or tutoring a colleague through a new computer program are all examples of helpful behavior. Being helpful shows that you value the trust of your coworkers.

Include everyone.

If you want to earn the respect of your coworkers, it helps to include them in office activities whenever possible. It's fine to have a trusted colleague in the office but be careful not to single them out to the exclusion of the rest of the group.

Invite everyone to participate in group brainstorming sessions, organize group lunches, and spend equal amounts of time chatting with each of your coworkers.

Don't slack off on your duties.

Take your responsibilities seriously if you have any. Therefore, if it is part of your duty to file consumer feedback, then do it. No matter what your job description is, this rule holds true.

If you don't do what you're supposed to, your supervisors and coworkers may have to finish the job for you, which might damage your reputation as an asset to the team.

Read More: Styles of Listening and How to Improve

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