Trust is essential for effective working relationships and trustworthy individuals are usually, broadly speaking, happier than individuals who are not trustworthy. Trust can be built with some focus and effort. In this post we detail 10 simple things you can do to build trust.

Summary by The World of Work Project

10 Simple Trust Building Actions

Trust is a very important factor in the world of work. Individuals who are trustworthy have better relationships with others and are usually more able to perform their roles effectively. Interestingly, they also usually have high levels of personal satisfaction.

Trust is also an important factor in organizational cultures. Where trust is high, there is less risk of social threat and employee experience tends to be better.

While trustworthiness is often a reflection of an individual’s character, there are some simple things that individuals can do to improve how trustworthy others consider them to be.

Do the people you work with know the real you?

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Trust Building Actions You Can Take

This list is in no way complete, but it provides a few thoughts that may be a helpful starting point for those looking to become more trustworthy.

  1. Listen to people and care what they say in response. Take an interest in them.
  2. Share personal things about yourself with others, so they get to know the real you.
  3. Admit when you make a mistake or get things wrong. Vulnerability and fallibility are surprisingly human traits.
  4. Do things when you said you would. If nothing else, let people know in advance if you’re struggling or won’t deliver something.
  5. Turn up on time to meetings, whoever they are with, and never cancel meetings at the last minute. Simple actions like this show respect and help build trust, particularly with more junior individuals.
  6. Say what you actually think (with some editing). People respect honest views and expressing your real views helps build trust. Others might not agree with your views, but they’ll learn to trust that you are honestly contributing to a conversation.
  7. Admit when you are outside of your domain of expertise. It’s better to be honest and say you don’t know than to pretend you do know, only to later be shown to have been dishonest.
  8. Deliver to the right level of quality. If you’ve said you’ll do something, you need to deliver to a sufficient standard to be trusted.
  9. Live in line with your espoused values. Hypocrisy has the power to significantly damage both trust and respect.
  10. Ask for, listen to and actually hear feedback from others. You don’t always need to accept it or act on it, but the act of genuinely hearing and acknowledging it can help build trust.

Everyone makes mistakes. Admitting them is better than lying about them.

Learning More

Trust is a hugely important factor that affects our experiences in the world of work. There are several different models that can help us think about trust including the Trust Equation and the ABCDs of Trust. While these models differ, there are lots of similarities between different models of trust.

Trust is also an important component of many organizational cultures. Where trust is higher, people tend to have more psychological safety and fewer social threats. As a result employee experience is better, as is employee engagement, and employees are better at feedback. This is part of the reason so many team building activities focus on increasing trust.

Interestingly, trust is also something that allows us to play. Our podcast exploring the importance of playfulness is below:

The World of Work Project View

Trust is important, and a lot of the factors that affect it are common sense, if not always easy to live by. It’s worth trying to follow them.

It’s actually possible to quite quickly build trust through actions similar to these, but you need to be genuine. And you need to be human.

As we mention in many references to trust, we consider genuine trustworthiness to be a reflection of personal character. This means that to really become trustworthy may require an individual to assess and develop their character.

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This post is based on our experience in the world of work and there are no specific references for it.

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