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25 ways to immediately build trust at work

Trust is the foundation for building strong teams, creating a positive work culture, and producing results. When people don’t trust you, it shows in their behaviour. They double-check your work, they micro-manage you, and they don’t listen to you or take your leadership seriously. Conversely, employees who trust their colleagues and leaders are more likely to be open, honest, empathetic, collaborative and constructive.


Why Trust Matters

Trust is at the heart of all relationships, in both your personal and professional lives. In business, trust between employers, employees and clients is essential to success. When there is trust in the workplace, employees are more productive, motivated and loyal. And when managers can trust their team to work effectively and use initiative, they have more time available to focus on strategic tasks and growing the business.


A Shared Definition of Trust

To define trust, we need to go beyond practical kinds of considerations. A deeper version for employees involves more of an emotional response. This includes knowing that leaders are on “their side”, that they will be treated fairly and with respect and that setbacks will not be met with particularly negative consequences.


Taking Action

Most people take trust for granted. They assume it ‘just happens’ in a relationship, but they couldn’t be more wrong. Most people think of themselves as trustworthy and assume that everyone else will agree. However, others can’t see your thoughts or values, only your actions. Therefore, building trust is about what you do, not what you say.


25 ways to immediately build trust at work:

  1. Follow-through on your commitments
  2. Take a genuine interest in your colleagues
  3. Mentor someone
  4. Strive to be and do your best
  5. Tell the truth
  6. Don’t gossip
  7. Keep confidences 
  8. Listen well
  9. Incorporate the ideas of others
  10. Praise people for a job well done
  11. Respond to requests
  12. Under-promise and over-deliver
  13. Walk your talk
  14. Stand up for what is right
  15. Admit your mistakes
  16. Apologise when necessary
  17. Constantly build your expertise
  18. Build a rapport with others
  19. Be inclusive and appreciate diversity
  20. Be on time for meetings and appointments
  21. Show strong organisational skills
  22. Say please and thank you
  23. Go above and beyond to help others
  24. Be receptive to feedback
  25. Be friendly

Trust is an essential building block for a safe and productive workplace. It also has the power to improve employee experience. Trust must be earned though. And that comes from the conscious effort to align your behaviours with your values.

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