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Ten Ways to Build Trust in the Workplace

In order to earn the trust of your peers, subordinates and superiors there are a number of common factors that you have to apply and maintain. In order to gain their trust, you will have to prove that you can be consistent on a set of basic qualities and behaviours over a period of time. Here are ten ways to build and maintain trust in the workplace.

Brian W. Pascal
President, IPM
1. Be consistent
Nothing builds trust like consistency or consistent behaviour. If you complete a project on time and within budget, your boss can expect and trust that you will do the same on the tenth project he hands you. If you bring donuts every Friday for three months people will expect and trust that you will bring the donuts on Friday. Be consistent and trust will follow.

2. Always tell the truth
People want to hear the truth. Even if it is bad news and especially if it is bad news, people want to hear the truth. If you make it a practice to always tell the truth then all those around you will trust you more. The reverse is also true. Tell a lie and you will become known as a liar. Remember your motherís advice; build trust by always telling the truth.

3. Follow through
If you say that you will do something then you have to follow through on your commitments. If not, then people will not trust what you say, and certainly not trust what you might or might not do. Confusing? Maybe. But one thing should be clear, if you follow through then you build trust.

4. Maintain lines of communication
Keep your boss up to date on the progress of work. Keep your employees in the loop. There is little that weakens trust more than poor communications. After a while people expect the worst instead of trusting that it will get better. Maintain the lines of communication to build and maintain trust.

5. Donít blame others
Strike the word blame from your workplace vocabulary. Take responsibility for what you can do to resolve a situation and avoid blaming others. People will trust you more and whenever you really stick your finger, foot, or tongue in it, they may not rush to blame you either. Donít blame others in order to build trust in yourself.

6. Donít complain about other employees or management, in front of employees
Itís not just the risk of being called a rat or a management stoolie thatís at play here. Itís a matter of respect. Without respect there can be no trust. If you have issues to raise about some employees or management, use the inside channels. They will appreciate it and so will the employees.

7. Walk the talk
If you want the respect and trust of others you will need to practice what you preach. Show respect and you will receive it. Trust others, even if it is for small things, and they will trust you back. Walk the talk if you want the trust of others.

8. Create a common cause
People trust each other if they think they are fighting the same battles. They trust that because they are trying to solve a common problem or in some cases fight a common enemy. Find ways to build that common cause and you will have new ways to build and maintain trust in your workplace.

9. Find ways to work together
Just like building a common cause builds trust so does working together. Thatís why teamwork is so effective. On a baseball team every position plays defense and they have to catch or stop the ball if it comes into their area. The other players have to trust that their teammates will do that. Itís the same at work.

10. Be proactive
Donít sit around and wait for people to trust you. Unless you are a security guard or a night watchman that wonít build trust in you and your abilities amongst your fellow workers. Seek out opportunities to enhance your trust in the workplace. Be proactive and donít wait for them to come to you.

The last great piece about building trust comes from freely accepting responsibility. In the great novel, ďUp From SlaveryĒ by Booker T. Washington he describes responsibility as "Few things can help an individual more than to place responsibility on him, and to let him know that you trust him." Take responsibility for yourself and your actions and the trust of your subordinates and superiors will be sure to follow.


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