Trust is a huge factor in all relationships. Knowing what to expect from someone in any given situation is a fundamental element of trust. Often, trust starts out as a given, until it’s broken. That’s when huge issues can arise (or worse, fester) and cause a breakdown in communication and productivity.
Building trust really begins the moment a relationship does. There’s an implicit agreement in play that relies on both parties being honest, dependable, and transparent. At work, coworkers build trust through joint projects. Are you meeting your deadlines? Following through on promises? Reliable? Indeed.com reports honesty, admitting to mistakes, and participating in office activities all contribute to colleagues trusting you.
A blog on BetterUp.com says the above is an example of “Practical Trust.” To take the trust level up a notch, they recommend creating “Emotional Trust,” which means going above and beyond expectations and committing to building personal bonds with people. Their article says successful leaders have a higher level of Emotional Trust than their counterparts.
Key traits to possess in order to build trust include:
- Being honest
- Communicating well
- Admitting to mistakes
- Getting to know people better – i.e. hobbies, family, weekend plans
- Being an involved member of the team
- Following through on promises
Ouch! When you’re in a situation where you’ve lost someone’s trust, it’s pretty painful for everyone involved. Whether it’s as a leader, a colleague, a friend or a family member, there are steps you can take to start the rebuilding process. Starting sooner rather than later is the best way to tackle this uncomfortable situation.
ZenBusiness.com’s blog on rebuilding trust goes into detail about several steps you’ll need to take to get back on the trust track, including:
- Acknowledging what happened
- Allowing feelings to surface
- Taking responsibility
- Offering and accepting forgiveness
Active listening skills will really come into play when you’re trying to rebuild trust. Even if you don’t see what you may have done wrong, being able to hear someone else’s reasoning and reciting it back is critical to moving forward.
Forbes.com published an article on rebuilding trust that breaks the process down into three parts.
- Take personal accountability
- Accept both parties can have a “truth” in the situation
Have the Tough Conversation
- Listen well
- Find common goals
Follow Through with Actions
- Actively look at the other person in a new light – catch them doing something right
- Deliver on promises
- Communicate honestly
Keeping It Going
There’s no secret formula to maintaining trust with people. It’s definitely a case of “actions speak louder than words.” If having people trust you is crucial, then the work sits squarely on your shoulders. Being self-aware is critical. Knowing how you are perceived can help you make positive changes as you strive to keep a bridge of trust strong between you and others.
As you interact with people throughout the day, take a moment to recognize the level of trust you have with each person. Are there some who may not be 100% trustful of you? If you want to improve that relationship, then take steps to work toward a mutual level of respect, which goes hand in hand with trust.
- Only take on commitments you can handle
- Make sure your actions back up your words
- Be responsible and accountable
Without a certain level of trust, relationships will stall. If you’re hoping to move up in your career or be a better friend or more reliable family member, be honest with yourself first; examine how well you follow through on obligations. Make adjustments, and over time you’ll find a new level of trust while creating more meaningful relationships in every aspect of your life.